The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd. ), has urged Nigerians to be patient as the country’s growing food production, particularly the expansion of rice farming, will eventually bring down food prices, making it more affordable for all.
He stated that the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme had assisted over 4.8 million smallholder farmers in Nigeria, resulting in increased production of 23 agricultural commodities such as maize, rice, oil palm, cocoa, cotton, cassava, tomato, and livestock.
Buhari made the remarks during the official commissioning ceremony of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)/Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) Rice Paddy Pyramids at the Abuja International Trade Fair Complex on Tuesday, according to a statement signed by the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.
“Today, Nigeria’s rice production has increased to over 7.5 million metric tons per year.” Prior to the implementation of the Anchor Borrowers Programme (APB), Nigeria’s average annual production was less than 4 metric tons from 1999 to 2015.
I am aware that the bags of paddy will be transported directly from here to rice milling plants across Nigeria, where the rice millers will release processed rice into the markets. The measure will help us reduce the price of rice in Nigeria.” There were only 15 standard rice mills in Nigeria before this administration launched the ABP.
We now have over 50 standard and integrated rice mills, which are creating jobs and lowering unemployment. We anticipate significant additional output.
The President stated that the high margins in the rice business had also piqued the interest of more people in investing in agribusiness.
“Fellow Nigerians, our presence here today is undeniably proof that the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme is working.” Indeed, the sky-high pyramids that we have gathered here to commission are part of our commitment to achieving national food security and economic diversification through home-grown policies that ensure food security for all Nigerians.
The Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, as a critical government policy, is expected to catalyze the nation’s agricultural productive base, which is a major part of our economic plan to lift the economy, create jobs, reduce reliance on imported food and industrial raw materials, and so on.
“Adoption of high-yielding seedlings, quality inputs, and best farming practices were essential features in the Program’s implementation.” Improved rice seedlings, for example, have helped to ensure our rice sufficiency because they are disease-resistant and have an average yield of about 5 metric tonnes per hectare, compared to the traditional national average of 1.5 metric tonnes.
“This has resulted in us closing the rice consumption gap, reducing rice imports significantly, and saving foreign exchange,” he added.
Buhari stated that Nigeria was moving closer to self-sufficiency in food production, as evidenced by the commissioning of rice pyramids.