As the price of Rice continues to rise all over the Country, Nigeria would be getting a relief from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which revealed that it was funding six agricultural commodities value chains with emphasis on rice production.
According to a report by the Punch, the Foundation in a bid to ensure food sufficiency in Nigeria aims to improve the Agricultural sector.
Dr Audu Grema who is the senior programme officer, agriculture in the West African office of the foundation revealed this on Tuesday, September 13 in Abuja.
He said Nigeria will soon be self-sufficient in rice production and listed some agricultural projects of the foundation to include CARI-Project (rice) which was aimed at improving rice production productivity, pest control, and variety enhancement.
Bill Gates is funding six agricultural commodities value chains with emphasis on rice production.
Grema said this project was being implemented in Cross River, Niger, Kebbi, Jigawa, Kano, Plateau Edo and Ebonyi states.
He explained that the Cassava Value Addition Project was based in Abeokuta at the University of Agriculture.
“We also have a big yam project where we are working with private farms around Abuja, Kaduna, Niger, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Akure to enhance yam propagation technology through seeds.
“We have a huge portfolio of agricultural investments in Nigeria. We are work on maize, rice, yam, cassava and crop-livestock interface.
“We have four strategic cassava investments that we think are critical that we are funding across Nigeria.
“In agriculture, we do not approve projects except if it has a small holder connection.
“Anything we fund must have a connection with enhancing the status of small scale farmers.”
The rumour that the federal government in conjunction with Dangote was going to circulate genetically modified rice first appeared in Radio Biafra and other Biafra related pages where they claimed that the rice was aimed at killing Nigerians.
In a statement issued on September 3, Radio Biafra claimed that “Dangote and Nigerian government have flooded Nigerian market with GMO rice, please note: eating GMO rice is as worst as eating rice laced with rat poison popularly known as sniper in Nigeria, that is extremely dangerous to human body.”
The government denied the rumour and explained that the agreement with Dangote was actually signed during administration of Goodluck Jonathan in 2014 and in 2016, Dangote “cultivated over 8,000 hectares in Hadejia, Jigawa state, creating over 10,000 direct and indirect jobs for farmers who are the major beneficiaries of the scheme.”