The Central Bank of Nigeria has flagged off Rice Pyramid Programme in Ekiti State, with a vision to finance over three million rice farmers nationwide to boost boost the agriculture value chain.
About 12,000 farmers in Ekiti are expected to benefit from the programme.
Unveiling the first rice pyramid in southwest Nigeria, in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday, the CBN Governor, Dr Godwin Emefiele, said the Archor Borrowers Programme expanded agriculture production for 21 crops across the country.
Governors Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi), Mohammed Abubakar (Jigawa), and Gboyega Oyetola (Osun) described the programme as a good scheme that would reduce import and make Nigeria fully food-sufficient.
Emefiele said that over three million farmers were being financed in the production of varieties of agric products that could improve the economy, provide jobs and increase the country’s imports.
He said he understood that there was prohibition of land clearing in the southwest, disclosing that some governors had accessed N1.5bn each for such policies in their states.
His words, “Agriculture is profitable today in Nigeria and we will strive to make it profitable for all. We will try to make farm mechanisation readily available to our farmers. We are not only doing rice, we are also supporting cocoa and palm tree. Provision of rural access roads is also part of our target.
“The southwest people must make use of the coming wet season for bountiful harvest.”
According to him, the CBN is ready to make agriculture attractive to the youths and will facilitate the programme that can ease access to credit facilities.
He clarified that out of the N700bn earmarked for the ABP, over N300bn had been disbursed in the southern part of the country for the expansion of food production.
Endorsing the rice production programme, Fayemi said President Muhammadu Buhari demonstrated capacity to tackle poverty and reduce dependence on foreign food by many of his initiatives in the agriculture sector.
He added, “We want to increase rice production in Ekiti from 473,000 metric tonnes yearly to 1.5 million metric tonnes. We are doing this in partnership with JMK, Dangote and Stallion Rice Mills, whose plants are already in Ekiti.
“We are directly creating 12,000 jobs for our farmers, who will, in turn, provide jobs for another 50,000 persons between now and 2023.”
The Chairman, Southwest Governors’ Forum, Akeredolu, remarked that Ekiti had always been known for rice production, saying “this programme would return the lost glory and redirect the state to the path of economic greatness.”
Bagudu, who co-chairs the National Council on Food Security, said the success of rice production was due to strong collaboration between the Federal Government, especially CBN, and the governors.
Get real time update about this post categories directly on your device, subscribe now.