A 3-day rice fair kicked off this week in Alausa, Lagos, under the auspices of the Growth and Employment in States, Wholesale and Retail Sector ( GEMS4).
The event sponsored by the Department for International Development (DFID)/ United Kingdom aid (Ukaid) and the World Bank is expected to attain self sufficiency in rice production and processing in Nigeria.
This project themed, “Growing Business Opportunities with Nigerian Rice,” hopes to explore wholesale and retail potentials for the indigenous business community.
The fair is scheduled to take place in three states across the countryLagos, Cross River, Kaduna and Kano which took place in June .
GEMS4 Senior Intervention Manager, Busuyi Okeowo, noted that the Lagos fair will not only propel Nigeria’s rice productive base, but it will also stimulate effective demand and consumptionfor Nigerian rice brands, which will bolster food security and self sufficiency.
The organizers noted that apart from promoting locally made rice and raising awareness of the public, the major goals of the Kano fair were also to link rice producers with marketersand discourage the importation of the grain product from foreign sources.
This rice fair initiative comes at a time when there are more clamors for the government to block import waivers. The Senate had passed a resolutionagainst the importation of rice and other agricultural products on the grounds that it has cost the country a loss of N585 billion revenue from 2011 to 2014.
However, the Federal Government plans to review the policy until the country becomes self sufficient to avoid a food crisis.