=== (AGENDAWATCHDOG) === Approximately 12,000 farmers are to benefit from the Rice Pyramid Programme in Ekiti State, as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Tuesday flagged off the programme in the state, with a vision to finance over three million rice farmers to boost production and improve the agriculture value chain.
Speaking at the unveiling of the first rice pyramid in the South-west in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday, the CBN Governor, Dr. Godwin Emefiele, said the Anchor Borrowers Programme has expanded agriculture production for 21 crops across the states of Nigeria, adding that over three million farmers were being financed in the production of varieties of products that can improve the economy, provide jobs and increase Nigeria’s imports for foreign exchange earnings.
Emefiele said he understood that there was prohibition of land clearing in the South-west, adding that some governors have accessed the sum of N1.5 billion each to undertake such policy in their states.
“Agriculture is profitable today in Nigeria and we will strive to make it profitable for all. We will try to make farm mechanisation readily available to our farmers. We are not only doing rice, we are supporting cocoa, palm tree. Provision of rural access roads is also part of our target.
Emefiele said farmers will be granted loan to acquire solar system plant to help production and processing of their products.
According to the CBN governor, “The CBN is ready to make agriculture attractive to the youths and we will facilitate the programme that can ease access to credit facilities, so that their enthusiasm for farming can be realised.
“Our future is bright as a country, but we must take those good concept that can make us attain self sufficiency in food production, but attaining this will not come easy or cheaply. Let us continue to enter into partnership for us to achieve this.”
PROJECTED IMPACT = The Rice Pyramid Programme is a good vision that would reduce import and make Nigeria fully independent in food production. For Ekiti State, not only will the programme increase rice production from 473,000 metric tonnes annually to 1.5 million metric tonnes, it will also directly produce 12,000 jobs for farmers in the state, who will in turn provide jobs for another 50,000 persons between now and 2023.