Niger State governor, Abubakar Sani-Bello has assured that the state would soon take its rightful place in rice production.
Governor Bello stated this when he flagged-off the 2020/2021 dry season rice farming at the Trade Fair Complex Minna, the state capital, organized by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, in conjunction with Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN.
The governor, who described the event as significant and a product of hard work, said it was one of the cardinal objectives of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration towards ensuring food sufficiency.
He expressed delight that Niger State is gradually attracting national and international attention for taking the lead in driving the state’s enormous potentials in the agricultural value chain, particularly in rice production.
The governor said the state is the largest in terms of landmass, will continue to take every opportunity to increase investment in the rice value chain.
According to him, the state government will continue to accord priority attention to agriculture in order to guarantee the availability of food in the state and would vigorously pursue mutually beneficial collaboration with Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria and development partners to enhance agricultural activities and promote value chain development of rice, cassava, maize, sorghum and other staple foods which he said would improve the socio-economic status of farmers in the state.
He enumerated some efforts made by the state government in the agricultural sector such as the establishment of Green House Projects, reactivation of several irrigation schemes and Oil Palm Plantation Programme among others.
In his keynote address, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele said the flag-off was part of the agricultural revolution programme of the Buhari-led administration and that it symbolized their commitment to attaining self-sufficiency in rice production.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, Mr Edward Adamu, the CBN governor said the Anchor Borrowers Programme initiated by the federal government had proven to be a game-changer in the financing of smallholder farmers in Nigeria, adding that it has galvanized financial inclusion in rural communities beyond economic empowerment and job creation.
He said the partnership with RIFAN was to explore the potentials inherent in agricultural commodity associations and position them strategically as drivers to enhance agricultural productivity in Nigeria.
Emefiele emphasized that loan recovery is the hallmark of any credit process, hence the need for the association to intensify efforts in the loan repayment.
National President of RIFAN, Alhaji Aminu Goronyo appreciated the initiative which he said is aimed at attaining food sufficiency in Nigeria, pointing out that with the dry season rice farming, it is expected that Nigeria will be able to produce 10 million metric tonnes of rice including the wet season farming which he said can address the consumption rate of the nation put at seven to eight million metric tonnes.
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