Enugu – An Enugu-based commercial rice farmer, Mr Ekene Uzodinma, has urged international firms and local importers of rice to seize the opportunity of border closure to invest heavily in
Uzodinma, who is the Manager of Excellent Integrated Farms Ltd., gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Monday.
He said that investing in local rice cultivation would boost local production, technological capacity of rice production, create jobs and social security.
The farmer added that the foreign firms and importers interested in investing in rice could seize the opportunity and maximise profits as well as save money including foreign exchange for themselves and the country.
According to him, they should look at the comparative advantage of Nigeria in rice production, which includes fertile soil, enough rainfall, cheap labour and availability of free arable-land that most state governments are willing to give to serious investors.
He said, “the border closure should be seen as a great blessing and opportunity opened to not only Nigerians and Nigerian rice importers but to multi-national rice companies.
“Nigeria’s comparative advantage can be attested to and can be taken advantage of.
“Instead of importing ships and ship-loads of rice; the same quantity and even more can be produced here in the country through local cultivation and processing of rice.
“When foreign multi-nationals and our importing brothers invest heavily in rice production; it will surely have a multiplier effect on job creation for our people, local economy growth and overall security of the country’’.
Uzodinma reminded rice importers and multi-national firms of how big the Nigeria rice market as well as daily consumption of rice was in the country.
“We have about 200 million people presently living in the country and vast majority of the population eat rice at least every three days while the heavy eaters eat the staple food once daily,’’ he said.
Uzodinma called on youths to take advantage of the recent development to maximise the opportunities and profits in the agricultural sector.
“I will also want youths in Enugu State to take advantage and participate in the free-of-charge