The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has stated that following the ‘huge’ success of its agricultural financing, the country would begin the exportation of rice in 2017.
This assertion was made on Tuesday by the Apex Bank’s Acting Director, Corporate Communication, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, while sensitizing farmers on how to adopt the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP).
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The target was jointly set by the Anchor Borrowers Programme of the CBN and the Presidential Committee on Rice Production – which was launched in July.
In the theme of the workshop entitled: “Promoting Stability and Economic Development,” Mr Okoroafor stated that the price of rice has started to fall in Ebonyi and other states to N8, 000.
He stated that farmers in Kebbi, Jigawa, Ebonyi, Sokoto and Cross River states, among others, have already keyed into the programme, resulting in massive rice cultivation.
He predicted that the country will achieve self-sustenance in rice production if the momentum is sustained, adding that the country should commence exportation of locally produced rice by 2017.
Okorafor said Kebbi State had already harvested one million tons of rice, adding that Ebonyi’s harvest had outstripped the earmarked production for the year.
He said: “The development is encouraging and by the end of 2017, we will not only meet our national demand which is between six and seven million tons but have surplus to export.
We must rid ourselves of eating foreign rice that has been stored for over nine years in Thailand, Vietnam and India. Nigerian rice is fresh and healthier.
We should eat Nigerian rice provided for by the CBN Anchor Programme; 50 Kg of local rice is now N8, 000 in Ebonyi. Already, the Abia Government has ordered rice from Ebonyi for Christmas.
What we have done with this programme so far is to create jobs through farming, especially for the unemployed youths.
Nigerian youths must wake up, dust themselves up and join this worthy campaign. Remember that the status of our farmers is now better due to the support they are receiving as a result of government’s policy.
Our currency is weak because we engaged in needless importation of all kinds of food stuffs, including tooth picks; the government is determined to stop this.’’