By Fatima Muraina
A professor of Agricultural Engineering at the Federal University of Technology (FUTA), Akure, Christopher Akinbile, has called for specialized rice institute as a strategy to boost rice production and ultimately ban its importation in Nigeria.
Akinbile made the recommendation while delivering the 135th inaugural lecture of the university entitled: ‘The Wealth of Waste: From Water to Rice’ at the university auditorium.
The don said to significantly turn Nigeria into a major rice producer; government should create specialised rice institute that will handle all research relating to rice, from breeding through processing and post-harvest operations.
Such an institute, he said, will provide necessary information and other technical support to rice farmers and others in the chain in order to boost rice production.
After measures to shore up rice production have been institutionalized, Akinbile said government should step up robust awareness campaign to sensitize the public on the need to patronize and eat locally produced rice.
He also suggested the formulation and implementation of a policy to forbid rice importation, saying that smuggling of rice would then be criminalised to encourage local production and patronage of made-in-Nigeria rice.