Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has assured that the State will soon take its rightful place in leading the Nation on Rice production.
Bello stated this when he flagged off the 2020/2021 Dry Season Rice Farming at the Trade Fair Complex Minna, the State Capital organised by the Central Bank of Nigeria in conjunction with the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria.
The Governor who described the event as significant and a product of hard work said it is one of the cardinal objectives of President Muhammadu Buhari’s led administration towards ensuring food sufficiency.
He expressed delight that Niger State is gradually attracting national and international attention for taking the lead in driving the State’s enormous potentials in the agricultural value chain, particularly in rice production.
The Governor said the State is the largest in terms of landmass will continue to take every opportunity to increase investment in the rice Value Chain assuring to accord all the needed support to all Federal Government initiatives towards increasing Rice production in the state.
He encouraged farmers in the State to participate in the Dry Season Rice Production and all other dry season farming activities, especially as many of the farmers lost most of their farm produce to the floods.
According to the Governor, the State Government will continue to accord priority attention to agriculture in order to guarantee the availability of food in the state and shall vigorously pursue mutually beneficial collaboration with RIFAN and Development Partners to enhance agricultural activities and promote value chain development of rice, cassava, maize, sorghum and other staple foods across the state which he said would improve the socio-economic status of farmers in the State.
He enumerated some efforts made by the State government in the Agricultural sector such as the establishment of Green House Projects, reactivation of several irrigation schemes and Oil Palm Plantation Programme among others.
In his keynote address, the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria CBN Mr Godwin Emefele said the flag off is part of the Agricultural revolution programmes of the Buhari led administration and that it symbolizes their commitment to attaining self-sufficiency in rice production.
Represented by the Deputy Corporate Services Mr Edward Lametek Adamu, the CBN Governor said the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme initiated by the Federal Government has proven to be a game-changer in the financing of smallholders, farmers, in Nigeria adding that it has galvanised financial inclusion in rural communities beyond economic empowerment and job creation.
He said the Partnership with Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) is to explore the potentials inherent in Agricultural Commodity Associations and position them strategically as drivers to enhanced Agricultural productivity in Nigeria.
The CBN Governor emphasized that loan recovery is the hallmark of any credit process hence the need for the Association to intensify efforts in the loan repayment.
The National President of RIFAN Alhaji Aminu Muhammed Goronyo appreciated the initiative which he said is aimed at attaining food sufficiency in Nigeria pointing out that with the dry season rice farming, it is expected that Nigeria will be able to produce 10 million metric tonnes of Rice including the wet season farming which he said can meet up with the consumption rate of the Nation put at seven (7) to eight (8) million metric tonnes.
The Niger State Coordinator of RIFAN/CBN Special Project Alhaji Idris Usman said the State has contributed a lot in terms of food production in Nigeria while appealing to the CBN to ensure quick distribution of the farm inputs as Farmers are one month late already.