The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Garba Shehu, has explained why he said Nigeria is the second largest producer of rice in the world.
The Presidential aide came under fire over the comment for failing to show proof that Nigeria is actually the second largest producer of rice. While giving clarifications, Shehu said he heard that Nigeria is the second largest rice producer from global news giants, CNN.
He said that was where he got his information.
“We are not the first to say that Nigeria has grown to the second position in rice production worldwide.
“The CNN which is not a frivolous news source said this. We have reason to believe them because of their global reach.
“While we wait the numbers from the Food and Agricultural Organisation, FAO, we are collating our own figures and in the coming weeks, the officials in the Ministry of Agriculture will be coming up with our own position on rice production.
“Don’t forget that since October last year, Nigeria has been feeding many parts of West Africa, North and Central Africa.
“Many of these countries have been shopping in Nigeria for rice, sorghum, sesame and millet.
“To support the growing rice industry, the Federal Government just acquired 110 rice milling machines which will be installed in different parts of the country between now and July.
“A lot is happening in Nigeria for which we should be proud,” Mr Shehu added.
However, the report has been termed erroneous as there are no statistics to back up the report. Some argued that it is just a few states in the country that are producing rice which is not even capable of serving the states where it is produced. Others also said the sudden rise in the price of rice and its scarcity is a pointer to the fact that the report might just be untrue.
Many are still waiting for statistics to back up the report.