…commends CBN’s support
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN, Tuesday, assured Nigerians 100 per cent supply and availability of rice ahead of the festive season despite the closure of land borders.
This assurance was given by the National President, RIFAN, Aminu Goronyo, while speaking with Vanguard over the association’s preparedness to export rice to other African countries.
According to Goronyo with the commitment demonstrated by rice farmers in the country, there is enough rice paddy for millers for processing and would be accessible to consumers before, during and after the festive period.
He said: “There is no cause for panic at all and there will be enough rice for Nigerians ahead of the festive season. We are 100 per cent ready to meet their demand and we have grown what we can consume. Nigeria consumes 7.5 million metric tonnes per annum.
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“The dry season alone we have cultivated more than 4 million metric tonnes and in the next three weeks, we will start harvesting the wet season rice which is more than 6 million metric tonnes. If you put together we have produced more than what we can consume.
“Our next line of action is to see how we can process and export it to our neighbouring African countries.”
Meanwhile, the RIFAN chief attributed the attainment to rice self-sufficiency by the country from 2015 till date to massive support received by farmers from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, through its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, ABP, initiated by the Governor of CBN, Dr. Godwin Emefiele.
“Whatever the CBN Governor, Dr. Godwin Emefiele, said from 2015 till date has been fulfilled. It has never happened for an ordinary farmer from the grassroots to have access to CBN’s support not even a community or commercial bank and all is from the CBN Governor’s effort to make sure that he supports the presidential agenda in achieving rice self-sufficiency in the country.
“So I will believe him 100 per cent on whatever he says and he will definitely actualize it.”
He also urged Nigerians to support the effort of government in diversifying the economy and also do their part in order to actualize the agenda of this government.
“Nigeria is a country that has been blessed by God in all ramifications and we as a country should know that we have enemies who are not happy with this kind of blessings God has bestowed on us, particularly, in the area of agriculture and oil.
“Nigeria belongs to all of us and we have to rally round this country and we have to protect and support leaders who are making effort all the time to make sure that Nigeria answers its name among the countries in the world. The issue of border closure Nigerians should accept it with good fate and should exercise patience”, he added.