Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) has commenced its multi billion naira 2019 dry session rice farming targeting 700,000 participating farmers.
RIFAN President, Aminu Goronyo, told our source on Wednesday in Abuja that the project is being executed under the Central Bank on Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers programme (ABP).
The RIFAN president said the association was working out the fund modalities with the bank.
Goronyo said that each states and FCT had commenced distribution of high breed seeds and farm inputs to the 700,000 participating farmers that would be cultivating 570,000 hectares of land.
He said that planting would commence same time in the 774 local government areas of the 36 States of the federation and FCT after the input distributions to the participating farmers.
RIFAN boss said for easy cultivation and good harvesting 52 registered input suppliers, 20, service providers and 450 private extension officers would be involved.
“The programme being a technology-driven process RIFAN has ensured that all aspects of farming are involved.
“This 2019 dry season faming is in strict compliance with the use of only irrigable land with adequate irrigation facilities under the supervision of extension agents for adequate technology transfer”, he said.
Goronyo said the CBN has expressed its willingness to continue to give necessary assistance to RIFAN because of its success story in rice productions.
He said to justify the huge amount spent on rice production, recent report by the CBN, has indicated that there was drastic declined in the volume of rice importation into Nigeria in 2018, judging by figures obtained from various official sources.
“CBN reported that the figures obtained from the main dominant rice exporters to Nigeria (India and Thailand) showed that as at September, Thailand had so far exported about 5,161 metric tonnes of rice to Nigeria, while India sold only 426 as at July.
Goronyo said that CBN had pledged consistency in financial assistance to encourage Nigerian farmers, made them get value for their efforts and safeguard the economy of the country.
RIFAN boss said the federal government ban on rice importation was another source of encouragement because it had started to yield the desired results.
He expressed delight that Nigerians now consume made in Nigeria rice, as the volume of rice smuggled into the country had reduced to five per cent while farmers get dividend and value for their efforts.
The RIFAN president recalled that rice production in Nigeria had increased from 5.5 million tonnes in 2015 to 5.8million tonnes by end of 2017.
He challenged the beneficiaries to endeavour to be active on their farms for adequate production because there was need to continue to grow the economy.
Goronyo also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for ensuring that the CBN/RIFAN model of Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) was still enjoying financial backing.
He said the programme has become a means of steady income to millions of farmers who were participating in the programme nationwide as they were able to access farm inputs easily.
APB was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 17, 2015, to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in the processing and small holder farmers of the required key agricultural commodities and address the country’s food deficit.