Following the temporary ban placed on Nigeria's borders, the Federal Government has stated that the border drill has helped to catalyse rice production across the country.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made this declaration while briefing newsmen on Monday.
He affirmed that the border closure had drastically reduced smuggling, importation of arms, ammunition, and drugs. He added that it had also led to significant seizures with the estimated monetary value of over N3.5 billion, while the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) recorded between N5 billion and N8 billion daily.
“We recently visited some of Nigeria’s 34 integrated rice mills as well as rice clusters in Kano. The rice mills are either operating at full capacity or have doubled their production,” he stated.
“Before the drill, there were 12.2 million rice farmers in Nigeria, but now six million people, mostly youths, are venturing into rice production. To this end, he said the country is closer to attaining self-sufficiency in rice production due to more farmers, who are mostly youths venturing into the business.
He further said, “Before the drill, farmers were cultivating rice twice a year, now that has increased to three times a year, and some rice farmers are now venturing beyond rice cultivation to milling, packaging, and marketing."
“Overall, the integrated mills currently produce 150,000 bags of rice daily and about 35 million bags per annum.”
He added that smuggling of petroleum products had also been drastically curtailed, with a 30 per cent reduction in domestic fuel consumption.
The minister noted that the administration took the bold step to embark on a border drill as part of measures to secure Nigeria’s land and maritime borders.