The average Nigerian will once again be able to conviently purchase rice the, nation’s number one most consumed staple food at lower prices across the nation. This is as rice produced through the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Anchor Borrowers Programme, ABP, hits the market.
The Apex bank had in 2019/2020 dry season assisted local farmers in the production of rice through its Anchor Borrowers Programme to ensure that they are able to sell the finished products at a subsidized price.
This step Central Bank has taken would ensure food security for all especially at this time that the coronavirus pandemic has slowed down economic activities all over the world.
The programme, funded by CBN is midwifed by the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN and the mass production of the local rice, will among other numerous things, crash the prices of rice in the market.
During the flag-off for the sale of the rice in Taraba state Secretary of RIFAN, Taraba State chapter, Mamman Rabiu said 36,000 bags of padi rice were sold to the integrated millers, local millers, women groups and among others at the subsidized price of N11,000 per 100-kilogram bag.
Rabiu noted the 36,000 bags were collected from members of RIFAN as 30 percent equity of the 2019/2020 dry season recovery, adding that the rice was sold to millers in the local communities, who are expected to process it and resell to the community at a subsidized price.
He disclosed they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with the millers to sell the finished products at a subsidized price as part of efforts to ensure food security.
The secretary said the agreement would enable integrated millers who have bigger machineries for de-stoning and polishing to sell a processed bag of rice at N15,000 per 50 kilogram bag.
“It is worth mentioning that a 50kg local bag of rice sells at an average of N18,000 in Taraba state. On the other hand, the RIFAN agreement will see small holding millers (who don’t have machineries for de-stoning and polishing, etc) to sell their 50kg bag at between N13-13,500”, he added.
“The Taraba State success story is what is happening across the entire federation. The essence of ABP is to ensure food safety and security. By this, the local farmers are economically empowered, while the general public is fed with healthier and nutritious rice at affordable prices”.
Earlier CBN governor had said in line with President Buhari’s directive, that the bank would boost provision of improved seedlings and access to finance for rural farmers in the agricultural sector across 10 commodities such as rice, maize, cassava, cocoa, tomato, cotton, oil-palm, poultry, fish, and livestock/dairy.
He said, “Our choice of these 10 crops is driven by the amount spent on the importation of these items into the country and the over 10 million jobs that could be created over the next five years if efforts are made to expand the cultivation and processing of these items in Nigeria.
“The bank would sustain its intervention in the agriculture sector through its development finance mandate, in order to help catalyse growth in critical sectors of the economy such as agriculture and the manufacturing sectors.
“When I became governor of the Central Bank in June 2014, imports of rice, fish, wheat and sugar alone consumed about N1.3 trillion worth of foreign exchange from the Bank.
“My immediate question was: can we not produce these ourselves? After all, only a few decades ago, Nigeria was one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of many agricultural products like palm oil, cocoa and groundnuts,” he added.