Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele has explained what the apex bank has achieved through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
Unveiling of FCT mega rice pyramids under the RIFAN/CBN anchor borrowers’ programme in Abuja on Tuesday January 18, the CBN Governor said the ABP helped increase the country’s rice milling plants from 6 to 50 in the last six years.
Emefiele also disclosed that the national output of rice production also increased from 5.4 million metric tons in 2015 to over 9 million metric tons in December 2021.
Commending the effort of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) in producing the largest rice pyramids in Africa, Emefiele further averred that the national output in agricultural production had tremendously increased since 2016 when the initiative began and has also reduced the dependency on imported rice.
“The programme has developed an ecosystem among all nodes of the agricultural value chain, and these linkages can be better optimised through synergy among all stakeholders. As the end of December 2021, we have financed 4,489,786 farmers that cultivated 5,300,411 hectares across 21 commodities through 23 Participating Financial Institutions in the 36 States of the Federation and FCT.
“We are delighted that these efforts have yielded fruits is not just increasing the availability of rice, but also in moderating prices, reducing imports and increasing job creation in the country. For example, Thailand alone exported 1.3 million metric tons of rice to Nigeria in 2014.
“The ABP was launched in 2015 to curtail these imports, and since then, we have seen incremental reductions in rice imports from Thailand. 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.
“Beyond increasing our national output from about 5.4 million metric tons in 2015 to over 9 million metric tons in 2021, we have also significantly improved the productivity per hectare of the smallholder farmer from about 2.4 metric tons per ha in 2015 to between about 5 metric tons in 2021”
Acknowledging the efforts of smallholder farmers in executing the food security initiatives, Emefiele added that Nigeria’s milled rice can now match with the foreign-produced rice in quality.
“These expansions have not only made Nigeria the largest rice producer in Africa but has also unlocked enormous private sector investment in the rice value chain as the number of Integrated Rice Mills grown astronomically from 6 in 2015 to over 50 in 2021 with many more in various stages of completion.
“Today, Nigeria’s milled rice matches the foreign rice in quality. Your Excellency, as part of this event, you will be inspecting some of numerous Nigeria milled rice in the exhibition stands.
“Indeed, we lost some farmers to insurgency attacks nationwide whilst some could not access their farmers for several months. Yet, they kept the faith. They did not give up. They persevered. They did not abandon our fight for food self-sufficiency.
“Today’s event, therefore, is a celebration of their doggedness and an appreciation of their commitment to food security.”
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