The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, said on Tuesday that the Ekiti Rice Pyramid Project would catalyse rice production in the South-West region of the country.
He said the bank, through its Anchors Borrowers’ Programme, was financing numerous rice farmers across the country to boost production and improve the agriculture value chain.
Emefiele, who said the bank’s programmes to boost agriculture were spread over all parts of the country, stated that over N300bn out of the N700bn earmarked for the ABP had been disbursed in the southern part of the country for food production.
The CBN governor, who spoke in Ado Ekiti, while unveiling Ekiti State Rice Pyramid Project and commencement of the 2021 wet season rice planting, said the ABP had expanded agriculture production for 21 crops across the states of Nigeria.
While speaking on the rice pyramid project, which is the first in the South-West, he said, “The pyramid unveiling moment for the 2021 wet season started in Niger State, moved to Kebbi, touched Gombe, and now, we are in Ekiti State and we want it to touch all states in the coming months.
“We strongly believe that this event will generate the required momentum to catalyse rice cultivation in the region and provide a sustainable source of paddy for the numerous rice mills springing up in the South-West and its environs.”
Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, who said the pyramid project was to restore the state as a leading rice producer, said the project would also help in “tackling poverty and insecurity, enhance economic diversification, foreign exchange earnings and forex policy and curtail cross border banditry.”
Fayemi said, “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.”
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“Agriculture is profitable today in Nigeria and we will strive to make it profitable for all. We will try to make farm mechanisation readily available to our farmers. We are not only doing rice, we are supporting cocoa and palm trees. Provision of rural access roads is also part of our target.
“The CBN is ready to make agriculture attractive to the youth and we will facilitate the programme that can ease access to credit facilities, so that their enthusiasm for farming can be realised.
“Our future is bright as a country, but we must take those good concepts that can make us attain self-sufficiency in food production, but attaining this will not come easy or cheaply. Let us continue to enter into partnerships for us to achieve this.”
“In the past, Ekiti was recognised as a rice producing state. We want to change the narrative and restore the lost glory by moving farming from mere subsistent to profitable business; that was why we are mobilising our farmers to benefit from the ABP.