The cluster of rice farms in Niger are expected to produce one million tonnes of rice through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, the apex bank has said.
The CBN acting Director of Communications, Mr Isaac Okorafor, in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, said that the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, made the fact known when he inspected rice farms in some local government areas of the state.
The governor, who was accompanied by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Audu Ogbeh, the Governor of Niger, Alhaji Abubakar Bello, and the Governor of Kebbi, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, said that over 14,000 farmers in the state had benefited from the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, with billions of naira disbursed from the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Fund.
He said that the programme’s enhanced funding for agriculture was in line with the bank’s resolve to build a strong and sustainable agriculture sector with integrated value chains.
On his part, Ogbeh said President Muhammadu Buhari was satisfied with the programme and commended the farmers for contributing to ensure food security for Nigerians.
He expressed optimism that the planned installation of state-of-the-art harvesters and mills would lead to increased production of rice in Nigeria, adding that the government would provide harvesters and mills.
He also promised that the government would provide the farmers a solar-powered irrigation system to ensure all-year-round farming.
The minister urged farmers to embrace shifting cultivation to ensure the restoration of depleted soil nutrients.
He said that government would soon stop the importation of rice into Nigeria because of increased local production of the crop.
President Buhari on Nov. 17, 2015, launched the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme in Kebbi. The programme has 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 programme aims to upgrade small farmers to commercial farmers, increase food production and create jobs.