Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
Borno State has unveiled its first rice pyramid produced by local farmers to boost food production in a state struggling with humanitarian crisis especially food shortage.
Governor Kashim Shettima, who unveiled the pyramid at Ramat Square, Maiduguri, on Tuesday, said the bags of rice were produced by local farmers in Jere Local Government Area of the state and other areas in the state supported by the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrower Programme.
“We are not only unveiling rice pyramid today but also taking a giant step toward boosting agriculture in Borno State. It is to share the joy of progressive policy of the Buhari’s government which is encouraging our local farmers,” he said.
The governor also disclosed that the Federal Government through the CBN provided revolving loans to rice farmers in the state, noting that the anchor borrower programme led to high production of rice through a local farming company and the pyramid being unveiled by the government.
He described the concept and implementation of the programme as good, adding that it will also boost the economy of the state and the farmers.
He said Borno State government had a dream of embarking on large scale food production. He thanked President Buhari for the initiative even as he urged the farmers to use the opportunity provided by the programme judiciously.
Governor Shettima also took a swipe at the critics of the rice pyramid and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for inviting the managing director of the company that handled the rice production and rice pyramid for questioning. He said he had earlier invited the managing director to find out claims in the social media that the rice were not produced in Borno but bought from other states.
“A lot of people have tried to create mischief in the social media that these rice were not produced in Borno but the managing director swore to me with Holy Q’uran that the rice were produced in Borno.
“The security agencies need to be extra-vigilant especially on the activities of these social media. People are in Abuja and they will be posting all sorts of things. Even a security agency invite the managing director for questioning over the rice pyramid yesterday,” he said.
Critics of the rice pyramid had questioned how a state affected by eight years of Boko Haram insurgency could produce rice of such quantity especially as farmers many of the local governments known for rice and grain production have not returned to farms a year after their communities were liberated.