…promises cheaper foodstuffs
By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
President Muhammadu Buhari has unveiled a 1.2 million -bag paddy rice pyramid, in Abuja.
An elated President Buhari commended the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, for Initiating the Anchor Borrowers Programme, through which the massive rice production was achieved.
In his address at the event this morning, the president said that his food security agenda would drive down prices of food items in the country.
According to him, from a National paddy rice production of about 4.5 tons per annum before the ABP initiative in 2015, paddy rice production rose to over 9 million tons by last year.
In his address,the Governor of CBN said that as at the end of December 2021, his team had financed 4.5 million farmers that cultivated 5.3 million hectares across 21 commodities through 23 Participating Financial Institutions in the 36 States of the Federation and FCT.
According to him, Thailand alone exported 1.3 million metric tons of rice to Nigeria in 2014.
Mr. Emefiele noted, however, that the CBN introduced the ABP in 2015 to curtail food import and that since then, Nigeria has witnessed incremental reductions in rice imports from Thailand.
His words,”By 2016, rice imports from Thailand had fallen to only 58,000 metric tons. As of the end of 2021, they only exported 2,160 metric tons to Nigeria, thereby saving us foreign exchange and helping preserve jobs in Nigeria.”
In his remarks, the Governor of Ekiti State, and Chairman of the Governors Forum, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said that the next agenda of the administration’s food security programme would be to ensure affordability of food items.
Also speaking, the Gov. of Kebbi State, Alh. Atiku Bagudu, said that rice production has significantly improved to such a level that a farmer could now earn N400, 000 per hectare.
He said that Nigerian rice farmers have become richer than ever before.
He said that the CBN had invested less than one trillion Naira in the ABP and has achieved very much in terms of conserving foreign exchange, employment generation and food security Nigeria.