By Kadiri Abdulrahman
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, says the apex bank plans the cultivation of one million hectares of rice in the 2021 farming seasons, to boost food security.
According to information in CBN’s official Twitter handle, Emefiele made the statement while unveiling rice pyramids in Ekiti state, the first in the South West under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the apex bank had earlier unveiled similar rice pyramids cultivated under the ABP in Kebbi and Gombe states .
Emefiele said that the one million hectares of rice would be cultivated through combination of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) farmers and private anchors for each planting season in 2021.
He added that the CBN was already financing about 3.1 farmers for the cultivation of 3.8 million hectares across 21 commodities through 23 Participating Financial Institutions across the country.
He faulted claims in certain quarters, that the bank’s targeted interventions in the agricultural sector were tilted in favour of a certain section of the country.
Emefiele pushed for more private sector investment in Nigeria’s agricultural value chain, while urging farmers to repay loans promptly to ensure sustenance of ABP.
“The CBN is positioned to ensure the integration of our farmers into the Government’s Economic Sustainability Programme, aimed at providing five million homes with electricity using solar energy
“We believe significant improvements in domestic production of staple food items would help in attaining our price stability goals while reducing our dependence on imported food items,” he said.
He urged Nigerian youths to deploy their talents, energy and enthusiasm into boosting agricultural production.
He assured that the new improved Nigeria Commodity Exchange (NCX) would soon commence operation to aid production and sales of agricultural produce.
“Nigerian youths have the talent, energy, enthusiasm, technological adoption capacity and drive to revolutionise agricultural production in Nigeria.
“Revamped NCX is to commence operation by the fourth quarter of 2021 to be more responsive to challenges encountered in the production and marketing of food and agriculture produce in the country,” he said.