The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has said the nation will be self-sufficient in rice production by November.
The minister said this will lead to a reduction in the price of the commodity.
He frowned on what he called the people’s unbridled penchant and taste for foreign foods, most of which he said are not as healthy and nutritious as those produced in the country.
Ogbeh spoke in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, at a town hall meeting on sustainable agriculture.
It was attended by farmers, youths, women and other stakeholders in the Agriculture sector.
The dialogue, which featured questions and answers session, was hosted by Governor Abiola Ajimobi and the Commissioner for Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development, Prince Oyewole Oyewumi.
The meeting, which aimed at clearing a new path for agriculture’s rebirth, climaxed a two-day working visit of the minister to agricultural facilities, including farms, dams, farm settlements and others across the state.
Ogbeh decried what he called the culture of wastages and abandonment in the country, saying this accounted for decaying facilities and monuments dotting the landscape.
He said: “By November, we will be self-sufficient in rice production. We will no longer need to import rice. And let me tell you: our rice is safer, tastier and healthier than the foreign brands.
“Patronise our farmers, eat healthy; eat Nigerian rice. Another cheery news is that we will soon bring down the price of rice. Nigerians should embrace local products and stop importation of useless things.
“We are a country that has penchant for importation without exporting anything. In fact, some people will even order for pizza from London for delivery by British Airways. They will tell you London pizza tastes better.
“We import champagnes, cookies, toilet papers and even toothpicks. We have this taste for foreign products. This is killing us; it is killing our economy.”
The minister, who said Oyo State topped the list of cashew producers in the country, pledged that a cashew processing plant would be established in the state in the next six months.
He urged Ajimobi to prevail on land owners to surrender same for agricultural purposes, adding that the Federal Government was prepared to join hands with the state in its agricultural revolution.