He said the agricultural stride of the administration is envied by many other food exporting countries.
The Minister said the revolution in agriculture by the present administration has now turned Nigeria into an exporter of agricultural products.
“In July this year, the Tin Can Island published a report that Agricultural export has risen by 150%. Containers leaving Nigeria are no longer going empty,” he said.
He cited a recent report which said that Nigeria imported 400,000 Metric Tonnes (of rice) more this year, even though the country has reduced rice importation by 90%, as the handiwork of detractors who are bent on dampening the resolve of the government to exit food importation.
“Please permit me to alert Nigerians to the reality out there: In pursuing our agricultural revolution, which will ultimately lead to self sufficiency in the national staples, we should not expect accolades and support from outside, especially from countries that have hitherto been the main exporters of food items such as rice to Nigeria.
“Every nation pursues its national interest, and it is definitely not in their interest for Nigeria to produce what it consumes, because it means you will no longer import from such countries.
“It is in that context that Nigerians should see the recent fake news that Nigeria imported 400,000 metric tonnes more than the quantity of rice imported in 2017. The report, quoting the 2018 United States Department of Agriculture World Markets and Trade Report, also posited that Nigeria’s local rice production is dropping. When the figures were challenged, they could not provide any empirical ground for the report,” Alhaji Mohammed said.
He said contrary to the report, the Central Bank of Nigeria revealed that it had not allocated any foreign exchange for the importation of rice this year because rice importation has reduced to the barest minimum.
“So those who claimed that Nigeria imported 400,000 MT of rice more this year have not been truthful,” the Minister said.
While recalling that the conspiracy to thwart Nigeria’s push toward self sufficiency in rice did not start today, he said in 2015, the government was put under undue pressure to import rice ostensibly to make up for a massive shortage, when in the real sense there was a glut of paddy rice produced locally.
Alhaji Mohammed said there is no doubt that the Buhari Administration has made a giant stride in the area of Agriculture, which is widely regarded as one of the success stories of the Administration.