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Friday, 27 October 2017

Shagari's Govt the Reason Nigeria is Not Self-sufficient in Rice Production - Obasanjo

Shagari's Govt the Reason Nigeria is Not Self-sufficient in Rice Production - Obasanjo

Shehu Shagari and Olusegun Obasanjo

Ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo says the policy of the Shehu Shagari's administration is the reason the country is not self-sufficient in rice production.

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While speaking at the unveiling Okun Rice at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Ogun state on Thursday, former president Olusegun Obasanjo, said the policy of the Shehu Shagari’s administration is the reason the country is not self-sufficient in rice production.

According to TheCable, the former president explained that Shagari’s government had set up a presidential committee on rice importation instead of a committee on exportation, adding that when the imported rice began coming into the country, the farmers cultivating rice “gave up”.

“One of our problems in this country is inconsistency in policy. In 1979, we were getting to a place where we would be self-sufficient in rice production, but then a new administration came and set up a presidential committee on rice importation instead of a presidential committee on exportation of rice,” the former president said.

“In no time, when the imported rice started a arriving, those farmers who were cultivating rice gave up. Today, I commend Hyst Global Business Limited and the Chairman, Mr. Biodun Onalaja, for his doggedness, persistence, and stubbornness. It is not easy to succeed here as a farmer. But I want to say Onalaja is a success story, because despite the odds he never gave up.”

Obasanjo appealed to commercial banks to offer soft loans to farmers at a single digit interest rate as it would make it easier to break even.

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Onalaja on his part, noted that while in office, Obasanjo had food-sufficiency as one of his goals.“The rice project was made possible by the assistance given by the chief launcher of today, who is a former president, federal republic of Nigeria, chief Olusegun Obasanjo,” he said.

“While in office, he had food self-sufficiency for the nation as one of his goals. He assisted us to set up the company while also blazing the trail for people like us as farmers. Here is a person who not only talks agriculture, but also walks the talk of a farmer and agro entrepreneur.”

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