All across the country, a revolution in agriculture is taking place. Under the Jonathan administration, agriculture has seen a new day.
In Kogi State, over 7,000 hectares of rice have been cultivated in the dry season, the first ever in the history of the state. The success story of rice production has given room for the upsurge of integrated rice mills. 14 private sector rice mills have sprung up with a total capacity of 240,000 MT.
Moreover, the reform that government initiated brought about an increase in the tariff on imported rice, thereby boosting the economic strength of local rice producers in the country. The capital flight witnessed because of the importation of rice into the country has reduced considerably. Today, consumer demand and preference for local rice has risen due to better quality, taste and price when compared with imported rice.
Some of the international grade local rice that has hit the market include Ashi rice, Mikap rice, Umza rice, Ebony rice and several others. A major foreign investor, Dominion Rice, is investing $40 million on a 30,000-hectare commercial rice farm with international grade rice mill in Taraba. The Dominion rice farm which is linked to out-growers of young commercial farmers is expected to replace about 15 per cent of the total milled rice imported into the country.
Clearly, these commendable strides in the agricultural sector by the Jonathan administration have the potential to considerably reduce the number of unemployed youths in the country. Gone are the days when agriculture was not attractive to young people. Now young people are going into agriculture because of the enabling environment created by the current administration.