President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday in Gombe, inaugurated the sales of rice paddy to millers in the Northeast sub-region.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the occasion also signalled the launch of the 2020/2021 dry season rice cultivation and wet season harvest aggregation in the sub-region.
Buhari, represented by the Gov. Atiku of Kebbi State, said the event was the third one hosted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), after Niger and Kebbi States.
“This is indeed an important achievement and acknowledgment of the CBN, under the leadership of Godwin Emefiele and his team”, he stated.
He said the CBN had, within the last five years, solved the problem of financing in the agriculture sector and shown to the whole world that “ we can do it; and confidence is gradually returning to the Nigerian Economy.”
Bagudu said the achievement so far recorded in rice production as being witnessed, was in line with the Federal Government’s policy on agriculture to boost food security, provide employment and diversify the economy.
“This is a great testament to the resilience, energy and responsiveness of Nigeria’s farmers, organised under RIFAN, and supported by millers and input providers.”
He commended RIFAN for responding to the initiative and the policy measures undertaken by the government to improve the agriculture sector and make farming profitable.
The representative of the president added that the pyramids of rice displayed would be sold to different millers and that would create jobs for the youths.
He commended Gov. Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe for his passion for agriculture, as well as Gov. Mohammed Badaru of Jigawa state, for his presidential fertiliser initiative which showed that even without oil, Nigeria would survive.
In his speech, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, commended RIFAN for the campaign which resulted in the success of the agricultural revolution.
“It is heartwarming again to see our effort towards sustaining food efficiency. Food production has now turned into improvement, whereby we now move from state to state to celebrate our success in agricultural development.
“Before today, we have been to Niger State where we also launched paddy rice pyramids, also in Kebbi State and today we are here to launch 13 rice pyramids with cumulative of over 200,000 50kg bags of rice”, Emefiele said.
He called for more private sector investments in the agricultural value chain.
“It is also encouraging that the event presents a different narrative reporting that most farmers were unable to go to their farms due to insecurity.
“In the last five years, since the introduction of the Anchor Borrowers Programme, it has become a game changer for financing smallholder farmers in Nigeria; we have achieved a lot, especially economic diversification, with emphasis on agricultural revolution,” the CBN governor added.
He said Nigeria had achieved a lot towards self sufficiency in the production of food items within the shortest possible time, while commending Bagudu, as the vice chairman of the Food Security Council, for his efforts that resulted in major successes.
Emefiele explained the CBN had financed over 3 million farmers, who cultivated 21 commodities on 3.9 million hectares of land through 21 participating financial institutions in the 36 states of federation and FCT. (NAN)