- Governor Ortom has tabled a special request before President Buhari
- The Benue state governor appealed to the president to sustain the policy on the ban on rice importation
- Ortom listed some gains recorded from the ban just as he also begged the federal government for more support, especially in the agric sector
Samuel Ortom, the governor of Benue state, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to bow to pressure by reversing the ban on the importation of rice.
The Punch reports that Governor Ortom made the appeal when he hosted the minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Monday, November 30.
He commended President Buhari for the policy just as he highlighted at least two major benefits of the ban.
Rice production and general agricultural activities boosted in Benue
According to Governor Ortom, the ban on rice importation has boosted local rice production and agriculture in general in the state.
He described the policy as a major milestone in the Buhari-led administration.
The governor noted that though there might be a hardship for a little while, farmers are currently smiling to their banks now compared to what used to happen.
He added that the policy has ensured that there is a ready market for locally produced rice.
Another reason cited by Governor Ortom is youths engagement. He said many youths have ventured into rice farming thereby addressing the unemployment problem.
Governor Ortom assured that if the policy is sustained, Benue state will efficiently produce the staple food for the nation.
Governor Ortom's statement has attracted reactions from Nigerians on social media.
Negerese Seiyefa said:
"What is the essence of banning the importation of foreign rice when there are no price regulations. Imagine the local rice being sold for same amount as foreign rice when the quality of some of the local rice is health threatening.
"What is worth doing is worth doing well. There should be a standard as per the quality required with an effective price control measure. Otherwise, let us make choices on availability."
Benson Akindolire said:
"I am in support of encouraging the farmers but the middle men of local rice are not helping on pricing.
"The current high price must be reviewed. I think various governments should find ways of getting rice direct to organised market at a price below 20,000 Naira par bag of 50kg"
Oke Ceasefire Adedayo said:
"When you ban importation of a product, it means you have sufficient capacity to produce quality that can sustain you. The reverse is the case here.
"The local farmers can't even feed themselves sufficiently not to talk of the masses. Our local rice is now like a gravel mixture. They need to be challenged and the only way is to give way for competition by allowing 50% level of importation"
In a related development, Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi state has said that the policies of President Buhari's government are turning Nigeria into a better country.
The governor said this when he visited a privately owned rice mill.
He said the government's focus on the investment drive in the area of rice production in the last few years had started yielding positive results.
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