From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri
A private Anchor/ off Taker company engaged by the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) for the cultivation of 3,176 hactres of land for rice production in Borno state has commenced the milling and processing of the commodity.
Chairman of the company, Alhaji Abba Kale disclosed this at the weekend while briefing newsmen on the success recorded under the Federal Government Anchor Barrower rice production scheme.
He pointed out that the initial target of the company was to produce 11,000 metric tonnes.
Kale stated that the the Anchor Barrower rice production which was introduced by CBN in 2016 started with 3,176 hactres of land in Borno state.
Kale pointed out that nearly 75 percent of the nurseries were already sown to be transplanted on 3,176 hactres of farmland before CBN gave directives to reduce the hactarage to 1,958, giving each farmer a hacter.
He further explained the entire project is being executed in accordance with guidelines given CBN anchor barrower department.
The program, the chairman noted had commenced in March 2017 with establishment of nurseries in selected northern parts of the state comprising Konduga, Zabarmari, Dusuman as well as in some local government councils of the southern part, which included Biu and Kwaya Kusar.
Alhaji Kale however said, the production will be very low following flood disaster which destroyed crops in Konduga town where over 80 percent of the cultivated farmland for the program are located.
According to him, close to 75 percent of the seedlings were transplanted in the permanent farmland when unexpectedly river Yare flooded the farm in Konduga where over 80 percent of the anchor farmers are located.
The situation, the chairman said was worsened due to invasion of quela birds, which equally destroyed most the remaining crops that survived the flood.
Presently, he added, the remaining crops, especially in Zabarmari Dusuman and some parts Konduga are being harvested and the benefitting farmers of the project have started refunding with the paddy rice they produced.
He stated that issues related to the program were being consulted among various stakeholders and Project Monitoring Team (PMT).
The farmers, he said suffered in trying to boost rice production but their dream was scuttled by the flood and invasion of quela birds.
“In view of all the facts narrated above, we strongly urge the Federal Government to give another chance to the most serious and committed farmers to continue the project with CBN funding”.
“This is a good opportunity to create jobs for thousands of citizens in the agricultural value chain”, Kalef miller chairman urged.
He commended the entire security personnel in the state for their maximum support and cooperation to the success of the program.