Abuja, Dec. 7, 2017 (TNE) Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI) has started sensitising school children across the country to the benefits of locally-produced rice in terms of its quality and availability.
Mr Kojo Sagoe, Policy Advisor for CARI, made this known on Thursday in Abuja at the celebration of Nigerian rice and cultural day of Asokoro Community Staff Secondary School.
He said that the Policy Advocacy Unit of CARI just developed the initiative to convey the message on local rice to the parents through their children.
“The programme entails identifying one or two schools that will organise end-of-the-year party for students, while finding out the quantity rice they will need to feed the students and supplying it free of charge.
“CARI aims to significantly improve the livelihoods of rice farmers in selected African countries by increasing the competitiveness of domestic rice supply to meet the demand.
“It is also to announce the accessibility and availability of locally-produced rice in the country, while promoting made-in-Nigeria rice, in line with the Federal Government’s policy,’’ he said.
Also speaking, Mr Michael Ahmed, Agricultural Officer in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that the Federal Government has been promoting the acceptance of locally-produced rice via different strategies.
“One of the strategies put in place is the distribution of over 100 units of rice milling machines to rice farmers and millers. Besides, farm inputs like chemicals, fertilisers and seeds were also distributed at subsidised rates.
“All these were put in place to ensure we attain self-sufficiency in rice production and the Federal Government has been collaborating withdifferent organisations to train rice millers and farmers to improve the standard of their production,’’ he said.
Earlier, Mr Seidu Ahmed, the Principal of the school, said that the cultural day of the school is also aimed at promoting the acceptability of local rice.
“We appreciate CARI for the initiative because our culture is highly represented, as some of the major indices of culture are food, dressing, greeting and music.
“We showcased Nigerian cuisines and we selected some ethnic groups to cook rice in their local ways to enrich our cultural day,’’ he said.
Miss Bolutife Omowumi, Social Prefect of the school, said that the annual cultural day celebration is all about promoting the diverse cultures of Nigeria.
“Basically, the event is to create and foster the awareness of different cultures of the students of our school.
“The event will also enrich the people’s acceptance of local rice; Nigerian rice has very unique taste, compared to foreign rice, and it also contains basic nutrients which the body needs.
“We appreciate what the Federal Government is doing to promote local rice in schools; it is a very good initiative that will encourage more Nigerians to consume local rice, while boosting our economy,’’ she said.