Niger State set to deliver a million tonnes of rice courtesy of CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme
Posted by News Express | 30 October 2016 | 2,971 times
One million tonnes of rice are being expected from the cluster of rice farms from Niger State courtesy of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) initiated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, disclosed this on Thursday during the inspection of rice farms in Doko in Lavun Local Government Area of Niger State.
Mr. Emefiele also disclosed that over 14,000 farmers in Niger State have benefited from the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, with about N2 billion already disbursed from the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Fund (MSMEDF).
Speaking further, he said that the enhanced funding for agriculture, through the ABP, was in line with the Bank’s resolve to achieve a strong and sustainable agriculture with integrated value chains.
The CBN Governor, alongside the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Governor of Niger State, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, and Governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar Bagudu, thereafter inspected the seven hectares of the Batch A1 rice plantation in Santi Village in Lavun Local Government Area of Niger State.
In his remarks, Chief Ogbeh expressed President Muhammadu Buhari’s satisfaction and commended the farmers for contributing to efforts aimed at ensuring food security for the country.
Chief Ogbeh also assured the farmers of mechanised system of production, as government plans to provide them with harvesters and millers, even as he expressed optimism that the planned installation of state-of-the-art harvesters and millers would lead to increased production of rice in the Country.
The minister added that, given the increased rice production across the country, government would soon stop the importation of rice into Nigeria. He also promised a solar-powered irrigation system to ensure an all-year-round farming activity, urging the farmers to embrace shifting cultivation to ensure the restoration of depleted soil nutrients.
Also speaking, the Special Adviser to the CBN Governor on Development Finance, Mr. Paul Eluhaiwe, said the topography in the state was conducive for the cultivation of other grains or seeds such as millet, guinea-corn, sorghum and cotton. He noted that Niger State would soon be competing with Kebbi State in view of the volume of metric tonnes of rice being expected from the harvest.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Farmers’ Cooperative in Niger State, Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed, expressed appreciation to the Federal Government, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the State Government and the CBN, for assisting the teeming farmers in the state.
While citing lack of mechanisation and irrigation for dry season farming, as some of the challenges faced by the farmers, he urged the farmers to remain focused and committed to rice production, as Government, through the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, was poised to address the issue of local agriculture production in the country.
It would be recalled that President Buhari had on Tuesday, November 17, 2015 launched the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme in Kebbi State. The flag-off of the ABP programme had since been replicated in 14 States of Adamawa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Lagos, Niger, Ogun, Plateau, Sokoto and Zamfara for rice and wheat farmers.
The ABP is aimed at advancing the status of small holders to commercial farmers, thereby achieving the trio objective of stimulating the needed capacity to meet the nation’s increasing food needs, creating millions of jobs and lifting thousands of small holder farmers out of poverty as well as easing the excessive pressure on scarce foreign exchange for food importation.
•Photo shows CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, in company of Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, Kebbi State Governor, Senator Abubakar Bagudu, and Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, addressing Anchor Borrowers Programme farmers in Niger State on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016.