Kaduna RIFAN Hails President Buhari for Restricting Forex on Food Items
By Abubakar Sadiq Mohammed, Zaria
Stakeholders have continued to react to the recent directive given by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to restrict forex on food items being imported into the country.
Some are in support of the president, commending him for making Nigerians to look inward to consume what is produced in the country, while some feel the nation is not yet ripe to meet the needs of its citizens in terms of food production.
Buhari had on Tuesday directed CBN to place forex restriction on imported foods when he hosted APC governors during Eid-el-Kabir in Daura, Katsina State, claiming his administration had achieved food security.
Reacting to the development,Hassan Tanimu Tahir, the Dan Madamin Samaru and Vice Chairman, Kaduna State Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria,RIFAN commended President Buhari for giving such directive which he described as the right step in the right direction.
Tahir urged Buhari to match his words with action by going beyond pronouncement and ensure full implementation to enable Nigerians consume what is produced in the country.
Dan Madamin Samaru who is also a procurement expert lauded the idea but, however, said that the government must make sure that the directive was fully implemented.
“I believe it is in the right direction but we need more than pronouncements. The boost in food production especially rice needed to bridge the gap cannot be left to the mere pursuit of profits.
“It should be strategically pursued using several instruments including Strengthening loan facility and accessibility by the actual and practicing farmers through their umbrella associations for maximum results."
He cited many examples with the neighbouring African countries who could not sustain themselves through agricultural production, urging Nigerian farmers to take advantage of the directive to maximise production.
The RIFAN Vice Chairman boosted that Rice farmers in Nigeria can sustain it's demand not only by the country but for foreign exportation.
He appreciated the proliferation of various Rice mills springing all over the country particularly in the north, the home base of rice production, assuring that very soon Nigerians will not differentiate between foreign and local rice.
This is because of the sophisticated facilities being used by Nigerian rice farmers now to enhance quality and standard.
Dan Madamin Samaru said the ban of importation of the commodity will not only provide food security for the nation but also provide job opportunity and enhance economic stability of the country.
It could be recalled that CBN had listed 10 food items as priorities in the quest to grow the economy and achieve food security in the country
Mr Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor, while reeling out the policy road map for his second tenure of five years in June, announced that the food items to be focused on were Rice, Maize, Cassava, Cocoa, Tomato, Cotton, Oil-palm, Poultry, Fish, and Livestock/Dairy.
Emefiele explained that the choice of these 10 items was driven by the amount spent on the importation of these items into the country, and the more than 10 million jobs that could be created over the next five years.
He said efforts were being made to expand cultivation and processing of these items in the country.