By Sule Sani
The Kaduna state Shippers’ Association has said the Northern part can feed Africa, urging the Federal Government to invest heavily on local rice production, describing the nation’s rice as the organic type and the best in the world.
State President, Mr. Augustine Achilike made the call while speaking with online journalists, under the aegis of Arewa Online Publishers Association (OAPA) in his Kaduna office.
He said the ban on foreign rice importation was good for the country, adding that there is no reasonable Nigerian that can compare the nation’s local rice with the foreign one.
“Nigerian government needs to invest more in rice production because our rice is the best in the whole world. Our rice is the organic type.
“Check the ones that is being exported to US, I know how much they buy them because they prefer organic food. Even Nigerians knew that our rice is organic but what we are saying is the law of business, demand and supply must be applied here. When the supply is much, demand will fall,” Achilike said.
According to him, what Nigeria need now is excess of locally produced rice, saying that definitely if that is achieved, the price of rice will fall.
“So, if we can achieve that, those people who are struggling to bring in foreign rice, it will just be a waste of fund by the time you bring it in and it cannot compete with the price of the local rice.
“That is why we want the Federal Government to encourage the local rice farmers so that Nigeria can have more than enough to engage the international market, because the country can make a lot of money from rice,” he said
Speaking on non-oil produce, Mr. Achilike said Northern Nigeria is greatly blessed with agricultural produce, pointing out that the food produced in the North can feed entire Africa and even exported to Europe and Asia if properly managed.
“The greatest problem here is that they do not know how to male use of this farm produce. We have the best agric produce in the world here, but how do we know the country, the company and the individuals that are in need of these products outside is the issue;
It is only when you come to the Shippers Association that you will now be given the guidelines. What people need to do in Kaduna is to start investing in agriculture.
Today we have a refining plant in Kaduna, managed by Obasanjo farms, all these agric products like ginger, zobo etc, whatever you have that you want to export to international market, the company will refine it to the standard of the country you want to export it to.
Now we have dry port in Kaduna we want to make sure that these things are done here.” Achilike emphasized.
The President who was surprised on how people tie their money in the bank instead of investing in agriculture, disclosed that agric exportation is the only business that can give you 100% profit that is if you invest like N5m you are sure of making another N5m within one year.
“Don’t forget that we are talking about international market and the sales are done in Dollars, so by the time you convert to Naira you will have more than the initial capital;
The benefit for shippers here is enormous, we link you up with the right people abroad especially for those who want direct contact. We will also tell you where to source the ginger or zobo that want and where you can process it. You can follow it up yourself.” He said.
“Agricultural business is the easiest and more lucrative today than any other, some people will tell you I want Kano or Sokoto Onions, so we have agents who buy these products, if you are looking for a container or more we have those that can get it for you, process and package it so that it cannot spoil.
“I can tell you more than 100 farm produce that you can get in Northern Nigeria that you can export internationally.
Some of the countries needing these our farm produce can give you their requirement but on many occasion, our people cannot meet up because people are not venturing into this business because they are not aware.
Despite the African trade agreement which enable us to some of our products to Ghana and other nearby countries and they will buy them.
Within the neighbouring countries, we use trailers to carry them across. Those farm produce that our African brothers wants are pepper, ginger, onions, tiger nuts, zobo, garlic, turmeric, maize, beans, yam etc and all of them are produced in the North.
Our garlic is very special and it is being sorted for in the entire world. You find out that most of these products are wasted after farming,” Achilike revealed.