The Bank of Agriculture (BoA) said on Wednesday that the federal government saved about 800 million US dollars by encouraging local rice production in the country.
Nai Akenzua, executive director for finance and risk management, BoA, said at a briefing in Lagos ahead of the "Meet the Farmers Conference" (MTFC) 2018, scheduled for October 10 at the national trade center of the country.
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that the conference, organized by Crenov8 Consulting, aims to expose African farmers to opportunities in the field of agro-export, especially in Dubai and other countries of the Middle East.
Mr. Achentsua praised the government's initiative to diversify the economy with a special emphasis on agriculture, urging Nigerians to play a key role in programs because of their comprehensive benefits.
He said that the government reorganized BoA in 2016 to provide critical assistance to the agricultural sector in terms of food security and increased exports of agricultural products to increase the country's gross domestic product (GDP).
"The Central Bank of Nigeria rendered assistance in the amount of 250 million dollars. The United States for the Development Assistance Fund, which is funded by the Borrower's Anchor program.
"In 2017, we allocated about N100 billion to farmers, and in 2018 we also paid about 50 billion Dollars," Akentsoa said.
He said that rice production had increased to a level that people could imagine, and that the government planned to completely stop rice import in early 2019.
Achentsua said that the focus is on standardization and packaging of agricultural products from Nigeria to make them acceptable to the export market.
Earlier, Ms. Bola Ojedele, representative of Crenov8 Consulting, said that in 2016, Dubai imports more than $ 100 billion of food from Africa, and it is expected that in the next eight years it will grow to about $ 400 billion.
Oidele urged Nigeria and other African countries to use huge opportunities for the export of various agricultural products, such as cocoa, rice, gum arabic, palm oil, wheat, corn, in particular to Dubai and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
According to her, the conference participants will be acquainted with a wide range of issues, such as agricultural trade in Dubai and GCC, requirements for import and export, laws and policies, financing, delivery and insurance among others. (NAN)