The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari has declared that his government is on the path of taking the country to food sufficiency.
Buhari made the disclosure on Tuesday in Abuja during the unveiling of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Mega Rice Pyramids.
According to him, with the steady increase in the number of farmers and food items getting support from the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, and the visible progress in that regard, Nigeria is surely on track towards food sufficiency.
The President stated that already, maize, rice, oil palm, cocoa, cotton, cassava, tomato and livestock are part of the 23 commodities supported by the scheme which has led to improved food production and employment generation both directly and indirectly.
“The Anchor Borrowers’ Programme has so far supported over 4.8 million smallholder farmers across Nigeria for the production of 23 agricultural commodities including maize, rice, oil palm, cocoa, cotton, cassava, tomato and livestock,” he declared.
The President added that “There were only 15 standard Rice mills in Nigeria. As at today, we have over 50 standard and integrated rice mills creating jobs and reducing unemployment.”
He gave assurances that more people will still join the business because of its wide profit margin, urging other agricultural commodity associations to join the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) in partnering his government in working towards food sufficiency for the country.
“When two new mills are started in Lagos and Katsina. I am also aware that because of the large margins in this business, more people are showing interest in investing in our agribusiness”.
“The Anchor Borrowers’ Programme has become one of the reference points in the administration’s agricultural revolution effort”.
Buhari added that Nigeria “is making steady and assured progress towards self-sufficiency in food production, and it is my desired hope and expectation that other agricultural commodity associations that are yet to participate under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme will emulate the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria in supporting our administration’s drive for food self-sufficiency”.
The Anchor Borrowers Programme “speaks loudly in its giant strides as it has increased access to finance by our rural farmers, who before now were virtually excluded from the financial system,” he submitted.
Speaking in a similar view, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele agreed with President Buhari that Nigeria is well on track to achieve food sufficiency.
“Beyond increasing our national output from about 5.4 million metric tons in 2015 to over 9 million metric tons in 2021, we have also significantly improved the productivity per hectare of the smallholder farmer from about 2.4 metric tons per ha in 2015 to between about 5 metric tons per ha in 2021,” Emefiele submitted.