The Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) says its agriculture revolution initiative has so far produced 500 bags of rice.

PAP’s Coordinator, retired Brig-Gen. Paul Boroh said this in a statement signed by PAP’s Head of Media, Mr Owei Lakemfa, on Thursday in Abuja.

Boroh, who is also Special Adviser to the President on the Niger Delta, described the initiative as one of the best programmes of the Buhari-led administration, saying the ex-agitators produced the rice.

The presidential aide noted that the Presidential Amnesty Rice was handy during the yuletide season, assuring that full scale  production of the crop would begin in 2018.

According to him, the initiative will provide jobs for thousands of people and contribute toward nation’s food self-sufficiency and security to grow the economy as well as save some foreign exchange to be used for importation.

The Special Adviser recalled that before the agriculture revolution of the Buhari administration, the country from January, 2012 to May, 2015 expended 2.41 billion dollars on the importation of rice alone.

He said that Presidential Amnesty Rice cultivated in Ogoja, Cross Rivers State was the beginning of similar initiatives by the Amnesty Office to mass produce rice in the Niger Delta.

He added that some beneficiaries of the PAP had started cultivating rice in Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers States.

The Coordinator noted that rice produced locally was more nutritious than the foreign rice which, according to him, “is over polished’’.

“The Amnesty rice is  also healthier for consumption as most of the imported rice are stored in warehouses for long periods before being freighted for months  across oceans to our country,” he said.

He advised Nigerian youths to venture into rice farming, saying, “with more than 180 million
mouths to feed and the growing preference for rice, the country is a huge market.’’

“We can actually move from being a net importer of rice to a net exporter of rice. Weaning many Nigerians from
their preference for imported rice, and the sustained promotion and consumption of local rice is a winner any day,’’ Boroh explained

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the initiative, and the CBN for its Anchor Borrowers Programme
targeted at farmers and massive agriculture production in the country.

Boroh also praised state governments for investing in massive agriculture, especially rice production.

He described as “seamless collaboration” between the Kebbi and Lagos State Governments on the production and marketing of Lake Rice, as a worthy model.

He specifically commended President Muhammadu Buhari for providing the initiative, environment and leadership that had brought about the agricultural revolution in the country. (NAN)