CBN spends N23bn on local production of rice

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, on Tuesday said that the Federal Government has spent N23bn in promoting local production of rice, soya bean, sugar and other important produce.

Emefiele, represented by his Special Adviser on Development Finance, Mr. Paul Eluhaiwe said spoke in Kebbi after inspecting the Wasagu Soya bean project and launching of the dry season farming.

The Soya bean project is a partnership between Kebbi government and International Capital Market Group commodity in Lagos.

The agreement is for ICMG to provide 12kg of improved seedlings and two bags of fertiliser to small farmers and 50 kg of seedlings and 10 bags of fertiliser to large farmers.

The 5,000 farmers working on the project were also given N170, 000 per hectare to take care of running cost.

At the end of the planting season, each hectare is estimated to produce 25 bags and out of that, four bags will be collected as repayment for the seedlings, fertilisers and money provided.

Emefiele said that the bank wanted to be part of the scheme so that more farmers could benefit from the project in Kebbi and other states.

He said that this is in line with the bank’s ambition of making Nigeria food sufficient and simultaneously preserving the nation’s foreign reserve.

He said, “Annual consumption of rice in Nigeria is put at over 6m metric tonnes per annum. Local production is about 2.8m metric tonnes.

“Sugar importation is put at 1.7m tonnes. All in all the Central Bank of Nigeria estimates that a whooping $11bn (N3.1tn) is spent annually to import wheat, rice, sugar and fish.

“We currently spend so much money importing products that with the right nudge, we can become self sufficient in.

“We spend billions importing vegetable oil into the country. You are aware that CBN don’t give foreign exchange anymore to people importing palm oil, vegetable oil into the country.

“We expect oil palm to be produced in Nigeria; soya bean should be turned into vegetable oil that we can consume in this country.

“We also have rice, wheat, palm oil, cassava, sugar, fish and several commodities. With the CBN anchor borrowers’ programme, we are on the path to food sufficiency.

“Those particular commodities we have been spending so much money on importing we want to make sure that we are able to produce this in Nigeria.

“We have the potential, we have the land, human resources and scientists that can give us the quality seeds, so why should we be importing any of those things.”

Meanwhile, the Deputy Governor of Kebbi, Col. Samaila Yombe (rtd) said with the CBN intervention, farming in the state will become more mechanised.

He said, “By tomorrow, thanks to the CBN, threshers will be bought for the farmers and wastes during harvest will be curtailed.

“Before now, farmers in the state do not have enough seeds and fertiliser, but with the parties involved, each farmer gets improved seedlings along with enough fertiliser.

“With better equipment, when you come back here for the next farming season, you will see a more advanced farming technology being used.”

Also, the Director, Development Finance, CBN, Dr Mudashiru Olaitan said 73,075 farmers were benefiting from the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme in Kebbi alone.

He said that rice farming under the programme was going on in all 21 Local Government Areas of the state with an estimated yield of 1.2m metric tonnes per harvest.

He said that per hectare, the estimated yield was six to eight tonnes.

Olaitan said the farmers have been linked with buyers at an agreed sum of N6,600 per bag of unprocessed rice.

Some of the farmers were not happy with the initial terms of agreement, especially with the control price of N6,600 per bag to the buyers.

This is because now at the peak of harvest, other parties ready to pay higher price for their produce, thereby making them questioning the earlier agreement.

In fact, some of them are strongly thinking about renegading on the initial agreement.

Olaitan said he was aware of the situation and that the farmers will be given a chance to renegotiate the terms of agreement before the next planting season.