The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria has revealed that the country had hit annual production of 8 million metric tonnes of rice production, with a target of eighteen million metric tonnes by 2023.
President of the association, Alhaji Aminu Goronyo who disclosed this in an interview in Abuja said the feat was achieved with the disbursement of the sum of forty billion naira by the Central Bank of Nigeria under the Anchor Borrowers Programme, APB, to over twelve point two million rice farmers.
Goronyo added that it has been established by relevant agencies that Nigeria is the largest producer of rice in Africa as the population of rice farmers in the country has also risen.
He explained that in the 2018/2019 Wet-season RIFAN/CBN/BOA, The Anchor Borrowers’ Programme Farming Model in Kebbi and Adamawa states have twenty-six thousand rice farmers, out of the ten million farmers from thirty-two states.
Quoting the RIFAN president:
“It is a cashless project that provides farmers the needed farm inputs, which comprise improved seedlings, water pumps, chemicals and other services like land preparations also under the project, mechanized services was also be made available to farmers,’’ he said.
The RIFAN President further stressed that under the ABP, over thirty-three point six million Nigerians were gainfully employed and due to the support of the CBN, additional five million applications had been received to be members of RIFAN.
He added that the association was collaborating with the Federal Government towards reducing the cost of production aimed at crashing the price of milled rice in the market.
Goronyo said with the total ban on rice importation by the government and collaboration with the signing of MOU between RIFAN and Nigeria Customs Service to tackle the rice and paddy rice smugglers across the borders, more feat would be achieved.
The RIFAN President commended the efforts of other companies and agency working towards ensuring self-sufficiency of rice in the country.