The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, says the Nigerian government has set aside an intervention fund to support rice farmers, millers and marketers.
Ogbeh made this known to newsmen at the end of a closed-door meeting with rice farmers, millers and distributors on in Abuja.
He said that the measure was aimed at ensuring a significant drop in the price of locally produced rice before the yuletide celebration and also enable citizens to feed well and cheaply.
Ogbeh said the decision was to enable the price of locally produced rice to fall as much as the imported ones.
The minister disclosed that the government would, in two weeks, organise a rice fair to create awareness for the consumption of locally produced rice in Lagos, Abuja, Enugu, Port Harcourt, among others, adding that the fair would also help to showcase achievements of Nigerians in rice production.
Some of the rice farmers, millers and marketers who spoke at the event, appealed to the government to implement the support as soon as possible to enable them to begin production immediately after the rains.
Representatives of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Rice Processors Association of Nigeria (RIPAN) and marketers attended the event.