In a statement on Monday, by the spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Femi Adesina, the government warned purveyors of such malicious information and those thinking of embarking on the same route to have a rethink and retrace their steps.
Explaining government’s involvement in boosting production of rice in Nigeria, the Federal Government said it signed a $1 billion Memorandum of Understanding, (MoU) for investment in integrated rice project with Dangote Industries Ltd.
“Further to this agreement, Dangote Industries Limited this year cultivated over 8,000 hectares in Hadejia, Jigawa state, creating over 10,000 direct and indirect jobs for farmers who are the major beneficiaries of the scheme.
“In consolidation of the rice project of the Federal Government, President Muhammadu Buhari administration is also in partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other reputable companies to tap into the vast potentials in the private sector and broadening the economic base of the country.
“The gains of the diversification drive especially in the Agriculture sector are already yielding dividends, as shown by the recent statistics in the sector as published by the National Bureau of Statistics,” the statement read.
According to the Federal Government, these engagements would continue until the present administration has laid a solid foundation for the economic development of the nation.
It further described the reports about plans to import genetically modified rice as ridiculous, insisting that it was wholly devoted to the generation of employment for Nigerians especially through Agriculture.
“It is unfortunate that while the Buhari administration is working assiduously with well-meaning Nigerians to bring the country out of the current economic situation it has found itself, a few self-serving individuals are bent on distracting the administration from the avowed focus to reflate the fortunes of the country through the diversification of the economy which, very soon, Nigerians will begin to see and experience the results,” the spokesman for President Buhari wrote.
Mr Adesina pointed out that President Buhari has said repeatedly that, “we have the capacity to feed ourselves in Nigeria and even export from what we produce in the country”.
President Buhari has also said that through the provision of 200 billion Naira by the CBN for small-holder farmers and processors involved in local production of rice and other grains, rice importation will hopefully stop in the next three years.