Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, August 12, 2013

Self-Insufficiency

When most people in Nigeria were subsistence farmers, the country produced enough food to feed everyone (albeit at a low level). Today food imports are huge. The problem, as most, is complex. (From Daily Trust in Abuja.

Why Nigeria Imports N1bn Rice Daily
A major rice farmer and merchant, Alhaji Haruna Ibrahim Jega… said bad government policies on self sustenance and greed by Nigeria's business class who are making a fortune from the imports are responsible for 'this wasteful venture.'

"Nigeria has vast fertile land good for the production of rice and other food and cash crops. The only problem with rice production in this country is poor policies and inadequate support from government. Let government provide enough fertilizer to all classes of farmers; smallholders and the big farmers at subsidized rates; provide improved rice seeds that can produce long grain rice that can compete with the imported ones and give farmers loans with single digit interest to enhance production…

"But a situation where government itself encourages patronage of imported rice by abandoning local rice and buying the imported ones for school feeding, as relief materials to foreign and local beneficiaries is very discouraging," he said…

When this reporter visited… markets in Abuja, the federal capital, assorted imported rice in bags, water proofs and packets were seen in almost every foodstuff stores with very few of them selling the local rice variety.

At some of the supermarkets and shopping malls in the city, no trace of local rice variety was seen on display as assorted packets of imported rice from different countries were seen on display in the shops.

One of the women seen buying packets of the imported rice, Hajiya Nafisatu Isa, said, "I cannot remember when last I ate the local rice milled in Nigeria because it has a lot of stones, it looks dirty, it is not attractive and very expensive…

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