From Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi
The Chairman of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) Kebbi state chapter, Alhaji Muhammed Sahabi Augie, has disclosed that Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu contributed a lot to the success story witnessed by the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) in the state.
Augie who stated this yesterday while addressing students who came for excursion from six different schools to observe rice pyramid in Zauro town, Kebbi state, noted the rice production outputs have increased from 700 metric tons to over four million metric tons per annual in the state.
“Before, more than 80 percent of the rice we consume was imported from China, Thailand and other countries where rice importation are coming from into our country. Despite the fact that, we have enough land, enough farmers to produce rice internally for our consumption. We are buying foreign rice and paying for foreign duties.
“And this is a kind of setback for our economy. Nigeria as a whole, agriculture is the background of our economy. Unfortunately, government before this one, they don’t have political will like what we saw in President Muhammadu Buhari. So, when the government was swore in, as the chairman of RIFAN, I knew that our Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu contacted our national association enquired from us what are the challenging bedeviling rice farming in kebbi state despite all the potential we had.
“ We told him the challenges of fertilizers and other inputs to produce rice. He was devastated about our challenges and promised to give us all the necessary support to ensure we have good rice farming in Kebbi state. Because must of farmers involved are rural farmers who don’t have income, because of the nature of the rice farming, it is capital intensive in nature. You need fertilizers, water pumping machines, insecticides and other agro chemical that the farmers needed for the rice farming”.
Augies added that, since the Federal Government through the CBN had involved, after Governor Bagudu’s intervention, the farmers have been having it so good in the state.
According to him, “So, anchor borrowers was born out of this background in the 17th November, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari was in this town, Zauro to launch the programme which was supported and sponsored by the state government with about 77,000 farmers. All the farmers were given the inputs in term of fertilizers, water pumps, agro chemical, and seeds, and even fuel to be fueling the water pumping machines.
“Before the anchor borrowers, our output in Kebbi state was just about 700 metric tons. But the first year of implementing the programme, we recorded 1.4million metric tons in the state. From that time on, our yields have been rising up till time that we can proud of producing 4 million metric tons per annual. So that is the history of anchor borrowers programme in Kebbi state from 2015 till now”, he said.