By Chioma Obinagwam
Nigeria’s president, Mohammadu Buhari has said that the country produces over 7.5 million metric tons of rice (about 150 million bags of 50kg rice) annually.
Confiance News gathered from his speech at launch of the Mega Rice Pyramids in Abuja, the country’s capital, on Monday.
He said,“Today rice production in Nigeria has increased to over 7.5 million Metric tons annually. Prior to the introduction of ABP, the average production in Nigeria between 1999 and 2015 was less than 4 metric tons annually.”
The president added that the increase which was achieved through the aid of the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) would improve food security in the country as well as reducing the price of rice in the market.
Buhari, however, urged other agricultural commodity associations that are yet to participate in the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme to emulate the Rice Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) to key into the administration’s drive for food self-sufficiency.
Corroborating, the governor of Nigeria’s apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele stated that apart from the annual increase in the production of rice to over 7.5 million metric tons, the productivity level of smallholder farmers have also increased.
“CBN working with farmers has significantly improved the productivity per hectare of the smallholder farmer from about 2.4 metric tons per ha in 2015 to about 5 metric tons per ha in 2021,” Emefiele said.
Reacting to Buhari’s plea for the participation of other segments in the food value chain in achieving food security, Emefiele disclosed that CBN in collaboration with the Wheat Farmers’ Association had concluded the first major wet season wheat farming in Plateau State and planted over 100,000 hectares of wheat across 15 States in the 2021 dry season.
Expatiating, the Chairman of RIFAN, Aminu Goronyo, noted that the Mega rice pyramids which he described as the largest in the world was only a small fraction of the rice produced in the period under review.
“What you see here today is a trickle of what we produced in the last wet season. Only 0.05 percent of what was cultivated is what is being displayed,” he pointed.
President Buhari further commended the CBN for its recent efforts at resuscitating the Nigerian Commodity Exchange (NCX), noting that farmers would be ready for the off-take of their produce, thereby resolving the current logistical challenge of moving their produce from farm to markets.
Confiance News recalls that the ABP was setup, in line with the apex bank’s developmental functions as enshrined in Section 31 of the CBN Act 2007 to create economic linkages between smallholder farmers (SHFs) and reputable companies (anchors) involved in the production and processing of key agricultural commodities.