*flags-off North East rice cultivation programme
By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
President Muhammadu Buhari has described the revolution in rice production across the country as a product of his administration’s clear sighted policy and the deligent execution of it by institutions of state such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
This was contained in a statement signed by the Director-General (Press Affairs) Government House Gombe, Ismaila Uba Misilli.
The President gave this indication at the Commemoration of the national rice festival and the flag-off of the North East 2021 and 2nd cycle 2021 dry season rice cultivation programme and 2020 wet season harvest aggregation and sales of paddy to millers held in Gombe.
Represented by the Kebbi State Governor, Sen. Atiku Bagudu, the President expressed gratitude to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN for solving the problems of financing in Agriculture and State Governors for championing the cause of rice production and other agricultural commodities, singling out Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya for special commendation for reviving the cotton value chain for which the State was once known for.
The President said despite limited resources his administration has achieved monumental results in the Agricultural production and its value chain, saying a lot of infrastrastural projects that will galvanize economic activities are being undertaken across the country for the benefit of all Nigerians.
Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya said but for the policy direction of the President and the sound support of the CBN, the heaps of rice pyramids on display would not have been possible.
“The pyramids are back and we are happy to see this and let me recall that only in January the Management of Central Bank with the National Cotton Association were here in Gombe and they kick-started the aggregation process of cotton farmers who equally paid the facilities they took in kind to signal the return of cotton production”.
He said Gombe state is a shining example in the anchor borrower programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria owing to the fact that farmers in the State are poised on taking advantage of the programme to boost agricultural production and eventually pay in kind facilities obtained to maintain sustainability.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya said Gombe State has a favourable climatic condition for the production of sorghum, sesame seeds, and other Agricultural commodities, making it a perfect destination for Agriculture revolution in the North East sub-region.
“Gombe is an agrarian State, with 85% of our people engaged in farming activities. Agriculture is therefore an important source of livelihood to our people and the bedrock of our economy” “Gombe has tremendous potentials in rice production. We have three major Dams in Dadin Kowa, Balanga and Cham. We are working with UNIDO to tap into those potentials for both irrigation agriculture and hydropower generation. Our Government is working on the Gombe State Industrial Park in Dadin Kowa. The park has a huge Agricultural Industrial Park section that’s geared towards commercial production and processing of agricultural products”.
He said the support farmers in the State got from the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN enabled them to produce en mass, leading to the realization of the rice pyramid on display at the tanker bay along Gombe/Bauchi road.
The Gombe State Governor, said the State is open and ready to key into any initiative that will assist farmers have access to facilities and inputs that will improve their capacity to engage in the production of Agricultural commodities.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for displaying leadership in the nation’s march towards food sufficiency, as the nation can now boast of eating what it produces and produces what she eats.
The Jigawa State Governor, Muhammadu Badaru Abubakar said the rice pyramid on display is an indication of the commitment and steadfastness of President Muhammadu Buhari through the Central Bank Nigeria CBN to revolutionise Agriculture in the country and guarantee food security.
He said before the coming of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, farmers in the country used to get between 1.7 to 2.5 tons per hectare but that at the moment farmers are getting 6 tons per hectare on the average owing to the Federal Government’s extension services, financial support and provision of farm inputs to small holder farmers among others.
The Governor of the Central Bank Nigeria CBN, Godwin Emefiele said since the anchor borrower programme was launched by president Muhammadu Buhari some five years ago, it has become a game changer in Nigeria and will ultimately help in achieving some of the goals of the Government’s economic sustainability plan.
He said under the wet season farming, CBN/RIFAN Partnership will finance 221 thousand farmers to cultivate two hundred and twenty one thousand hectres in 22 States, saying of this number, the North East sub-region will have forty four thousand eight hundred and seven farmers to cultivate over forty four hectres representing over 20 percent of the total number of farmers and hectres respectively.
The President of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) Mohammed Aminu Goronyo said Nigeria has come of age in rice production to conveniently feed its growing population, attributing the feat to President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision in that direction.