The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in collaboration with Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Gombe state chapter, has launched a 2021 wet season farming recovery effort under the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrowers Programme.
The ceremony was launched in Kurjale community, Yamaltu/Deba Local Government Area of Gombe on Saturday.
Mr Abdullahi Baba-Isa, Head, CBN’s Development and Finance Office, said that government’s intervention in rice farming was yielding positive results.
Baba-Isa stated that CBN’s intervention in providing inputs was to crash the price of rice, boost food security, create jobs and improve the wellbeing of farmers in rural areas.
He also stated that the apex bank was trying to maximize Nigeria’s potential in rice production as a measure toward conserving external reserve, discourage importation and boost local production.
According to him, the impact of Federal Government’s intervention in rice production accounted for why the country was able to ensure food availability during COVID-19 lockdown when food importation was halted.
“The Anchor Borrower Programme has made a lot of positive impact on our economy, output and even the national food security system has improved,” he said.
The official said that the CBN and RIFAN were already planning a one million rice pyramid in Abuja by January 2022, to expose the gains of such partnership, commending RIFAN members in the state for their positive responses to the recovery process.
He appealed to them to continue to pay their loans, so as to encourage government to accommodate more farmers in the programme in 2022.
Alhaji Aminu Goronyo, RIFAN President said that CBN’s intervention was creating wealth for smallholder farmers in the state and the country.
Goronyo, represented by Alhaji Mohammed Auwal, RIFAN’s National Vice President, said that with the impact of the intervention, soon, many farmers would no longer need loans as they would have been empowered beyond “borrowing”.
He stated that in spite the challenges of insecurity in some parts of the country, there was improvement in food security as a result of the intervention by the CBN.
The RIFAN president advised the association’s members to speedily repay their loans, adding that efforts had already been concluded ahead of the commencement of dry season farming in the state.
Also, Alhaji Abubakar Bello, Special Project Coordinator, CBN/Unity Bank/RIFAN Partnership, state chapter, said that almost 30, 000 bags of paddy rice were recovered during the launch.
Bello said that with the intervention in 2021, 14, 000 rice farmers were supported for the dry season phase and 28, 000, for the wet season farming.
He described the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari as a blessing to farmers and thanked the RIFAN president and the CBN governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, for their efforts at empowering farmers.