Nigeria announced Tuesday it would import 500,000 tons of rice to cushion the effect of the global rise in food prices, the dpa reported.
The decision was taken after an emergency meeting between the Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua and governors of Nigeria's 36 states.
Olusegun Agagu, governor of south-west Ondo State told reporters after the meeting that the importation of the rice - a staple that is largely imported - would cost more than 600 million dollars.
"We cannot say there is famine in Nigeria yet, but the prices of foodstuffs are going up and availability in a number of places is diminishing," the governor said.
He said government was aware of the ban on the exportation of rice by some major producers, but it would take advantage of the 4 million tonnes of rice provided by Thailand to vulnerable African countries.
The rice, expected to arrive in Nigeria in three months, would be sold at subsidized prices of around 41.6 dollars or less per 50 kilogram bag, about half the current rate.
Describing the measure as short-term, Agagu said the meeting also considered medium to long term measures to strengthen the country's food security situation.
"We all know that several states in the country grow rice so we will encourage our people who are grow rice to grow more now that the rains are here.
The emergency meeting, he said, also mandated all the state governors to increase their budgetary allocation to agriculture and food production over the next four years.
The governor said that the meeting also agreed to release additional grains from the Strategic Grains Reserve which has 11,000 metric tonnes of grains in stock.
Nigeria, a former agrarian nation, abandoned agriculture in the early 1980s and focused more on oil exports which currently accounts for more than 90 per cent of its total annual revenue.