Nigeria is the second highest importer of rice in the world

*As SON develops new standards for harvesting, processing
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), says it has developed new standards for rice seeds, harvest, milling, drying and hygiene practice for processing and storage of rice in the country.
The Director-General of the organisation, Mr Osita Aboloma, said this in Abuja on Tuesday at the 3rd Nigeria Rice Investment Forum organised by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).
Represented by Dr Barth Ugwu, the Head, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) office of the organisation, Aboloma said the standards, developed in 2016 was to improve the quality of paddy and milled rice.

He said that total compliance with the standards would ensure zero rejection of the country’s agricultural products at the international markets.
The director-general listed some of the quality parameters embedded in the standards to include germination, husk less seed, pesticides, residues, packaging, labelling and storage.

The Chief Executive Officer, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Business Group, Mrs Gloria Akobundu, said that increase in agricultural production was crucial to promoting the country’s economy.
Akobundu said that increasing in rice production in the country would guarantee economic growth.
According to her, an average Nigerian citizen consumes over 24.5 kilogrammes of rice annually, adding that the nation`s production level of 3.5 million tonnes of rice annually is insufficient.
She said that the theme of the forum entitled: “2018 Self Sufficiency in Rice Production: Opportunities, Challenges and Road Ahead’’, was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s plan to diversify the economy.
“Nigeria is the second highest importer of rice in the world and the highest in Africa,’’ she said.
Mr Hiroshi Kodama, the Senior Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), said the agency had assisted Nigerian farmers in rice milling and processing in Niger and Nasarawa States.
He said the agency would extend its assistance to other states of the federation to boost rice production in the country.




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