The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has flagged off the Rice Pyramid Programme in Ekiti State, as no fewer than 12,000 persons are to benefit from the project.
The vision is to finance over three million rice farmers to boost production and improve the agriculture value chain in the country.
Governor of CBN, Dr. Godwin Emefiele, while unveiling the first rice pyramid in the Southwest in Ado Ekiti yesterday, said the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) has expanded agriculture production for 21 crops across the States of Nigeria.
The CBN Governor said he understood that there was prohibition of land clearing in the Southwest, saying some governors have accessed 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 mechanization readily available to our farmers. We are not only doing rice, we are supporting cocoa, palm trees. Provision of rural access roads is also part of our target.”
Emefiele said farmers will be granted loans to acquire solar system plants to help production and processing of their products.
He also debunked the impression that some of the agriculture boosting programmes of President Buhari were concentrated in a section of the country.
The CBN Governor clarified that out of N700 billion earmarked for ABP, over N300bn has been disbursed in the southern part of the country, for the expansion of food production.
In his comments, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti said: “We want to increase rice production in Ekiti from 473,000 metric tonnes annually to 1.5 million metric tonnes . We are doing this in partnership with JMK, Dangote and Stallion Rice Mills, their plants are already in Ekiti.
“We are directly producing 12,000 jobs for our farmers, who will in turn provide jobs for another 50,000 persons between now and 2023”.