Prez Muhammadu Buhari Flags-off North-east rice cultivation programme

President Muhammadu Buhari has described the revolution in rice production across the country as a product of his administration’s policy and the diligent execution of it by institutions of state such as the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The president spoke at the commemoration of the national rice festival and the flag-off of the North-east 2021 and 2nd cycle 2021 dry season rice cultivation programme and 2020 wet season harvest aggregation and sales of paddy rice to millers held in Gombe State.

Represented by the Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu, Mr Buhari expressed gratitude to the CBN for solving the problems of financing in agriculture and state governors for championing the cause of rice production and other agricultural commodities.

He commended the Governor Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State for reviving the cotton value chain for which the state was once known for.

The president said despite limited resources, his administration had achieved monumental results in the agricultural production and its value chain, saying a lot of infrastructural projects that will galvanize economic activities were being undertaken across the country for the benefit of all Nigerians.

In his remark, Mr Yahaya said but for the policy direction of the president and the sound support of the CBN, the heaps of rice pyramids on display would not have been possible.

“The pyramids are back and we are happy to see this and let me recall that only in January the Management of Central Bank with the National Cotton Association were here in Gombe and they kick-started the aggregation process of cotton farmers who equally paid the facilities they took in kind to signal the return of cotton production.”

He said the state was a shining example in the anchor borrower programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria, owing to the fact that farmers in the state were poised on taking advantage of the programme to boost agricultural production and eventually pay in kind facilities obtained to maintain sustainability.

He added that his state had a favourable climatic condition for the production of sorghum, sesame seeds, and other agricultural commodities, making it a perfect destination for agriculture revolution in the North East sub-region.

“Gombe is an agrarian State, with 85% of our people engaged in farming activities. Agriculture is therefore an important source of livelihood to our people and the bedrock of our economy.

“Gombe has tremendous potentials in rice production. We have three major Dams in Dadin Kowa, Balanga and Cham. We are working with UNIDO to tap into those potentials for both irrigation agriculture and hydropower generation.

“Our government is working on the Gombe State Industrial Park in Dadin Kowa. The park has a huge Agricultural Industrial Park section that is geared towards commercial production and processing of agricultural products,” he said.

He added that the support farmers in the state got from the CBN enabled them to produce enmass, leading to the realisation of the rice pyramid on display at the tanker bay along Gombe/Bauchi road.

He also commended Mr Buhari for displaying leadership in the nation’s march towards food sufficiency, as the nation can now boast of eating what it produces and produces what she eats.

On his part, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said since the anchor borrower programme was launched by the president some five years ago, it has become a game changer in Nigeria and will ultimately help in achieving some of the goals of the government’s economic sustainability plan.

He said under the wet season farming, CBN/RIFAN Partnership will finance 221,000 farmers to cultivate 221,000 in 22 states, adding that this number, the region will have 44,807 farmers to cultivate over 44 hectares representing over 20 per cent of the total number of farmers and hectares respectively.

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