An agriculturist, Alhaji Abba Kale, has called for the establishment of mega rice mills to accelerate production and achieve self-sufficiency in the country.
Kale made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Maiduguri.
Kale, who is one of the Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP) clients in the Northeast, called on the Federal Government to support the establishment of modern mega rice mills in each of the 109 senatorial districts in the country.
He said that the call was imperative to encourage processing, value addition, enhance farmer enterprising skills, promote competition and create a market for the produce.
“We have paddy rice in prolific abundance, the produce cultivated by the farmers is higher than the capacity of the existing mills in the country.
“The ban on importation of foreign rice is a well come development, and the sudden hike in prices occasioned by the border closure can be pushed down and control through mass production.
“Most of the mills in operation lack basic equipment such as boiler, driers and trash machines to enable them to produce high-quality rice to meet local demands and for export.
“It is desirable for the Federal Government to support the establishment of mega mills by businesses in each of the senatorial districts to encourage productivity and attain self-sufficiency,” he said.
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Kale also urged state governments to adopt proactive measures to mobilise participation in the ABP scheme to encourage agricultural activities, processing, provide job opportunities and enhance wealth creation in the society.
Commenting on the border closure, Kale said the measure would reinvigorate agriculture and manufacturing, stimulate government’s drive to diversify the economy and enhance security in the country.
Kale called on the people to support government policies and programmes as well as patronise local products for the sustainable social and economic development of the country.
NAN reports that ABP is a critical component of the Federal Government’s agriculture transformation agenda designed to encourage production and processing to achieve self-sufficiency.
It is also aimed at enhancing farmers’ access to fertilisers, seeds, inputs, promote farmer enterprising skills, value addition and create a market for the produce.
The programme is being implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in collaboration with the Bank of Agriculture (BOA), Nigeria Agriculture Insurance Corporation (NAIC), farmer associations and designated agricultural input dealers known as d private anchors.