The Nigeria Agribusiness Group, a think tank group that advises government on ways to grow the country’s agriculture sector, has said that with the successes already recorded in rice production the stage is now set for the country to move from rice importation to rice exportation.

The group said that by 2018, locally processed rice would be exported to other countries which in turn will create jobs and generate foreign exchange for the federal government.

Dr. Emmanuel Ijewere, the group’s coordinator and vice president, while speaking as a guest at the monthly forum of Nigeria Association of Agriculture Journalists, NAAJ, in Lagos said that with the level of activities going on in rice production, Nigeria should have enough to consume and start importing by end of 2018.

The Vice-President also stated that Nigeria is now self-sufficient in cassava production, while the group is ensuring production value chain with the cooperation of the government. He noted that end products like ethanol, sugar and renewable energies are now derived from cassava.

The group, he noted is also experimenting with tomatoes and the value chain inherent. According to him, work is going on with Dansa tomatoes plant in Kano where locally made tomatoes paste will be produced for consumption and exportation

He dismissed the claims of some tomatoes paste importers that the type of paste being imported is not found in Nigeria. “Nigeria is blessed with soil that can grow any type of tomatoes. What they import is ‘triple concentrate’ which is not good for consumption.” He said.