By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed that farmers in the country will start to export rice from next year.
Speaking at a sensitisation workshop for farmers in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, the Acting Director of Corporate Communications of CBN, Mr Isaac Okorafor, noted that the bank’s Anchor Borrowers Programme for the promotion of agriculture in the country was already yielding expected results.
Mr Okorafor pointed out that the programme has brought about massive rice cultivation by farmers in Cross River, Ebonyi, Jigawa, Kebbi, and Sokoto States.
He said Kebbi State had already harvested one million tons of rice, while Ebonyi State had outstripped the earmarked production for 2016.
“The development is encouraging and by the end of 2017, we will not only meet our national demand which is between six and seven million tons but have surplus to export.
“We must rid ourselves of eating foreign rice that has been stored for over nine years in Thailand, Vietnam and India. Nigerian rice is fresh and healthier.
“We should eat Nigerian rice provided for by the CBN Anchor Programme; 50 Kg of local rice is now N8,000 in Ebonyi. Already, the Abia Government has ordered rice from Ebonyi for Christmas,” Mr Okorafor said at the event themed ‘Promoting Stability and Economic Development.
The CBN spokesman urged farmers to take pride in farming, adding that the Anchor Borrowers Programme was an intervention to reduce their burden.
He also charged Nigerian youth to “wake up, dust themselves up and join this worthy campaign.”
Mr Okorafor explained that, “What we have done with this programme so far is to create jobs through farming, especially for the unemployed youths.
“Remember that the status of our farmers is now better due to the support they are receiving as a result of government’s policy.
“Our currency is weak because we engaged in needless importation of all kinds of food stuffs, including tooth picks; the government is determined to stop this.”
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