From Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said Nigerian farmers would
start exporting rice in the next 24 months. Acting Director, Corporate Communication of the apex bank, Isaac Okoroafor, who made this disclosure in Lokoja, Kogi State over the weekend, said out of the 6.1 million tonnes of rice needed to feed Nigerians, Kebbi State farmers contributed over one million tonnes.
Okoroafor who spoke against the backdrop of bitter experiences by
farmers said the Anchor Borrower Programme was conceived to enhance their capacity.
“From the N220 billion, we are doing what is called the Anchor
Borrower Programme. We have just completed a pilot project in Kebbi
State on rice and other states like Ebonyi, Taraba and Benue are queuing up.
He explained that the Anchor Borrower Programme is part of the
micro/medium scale development fund of N220 billion, set aside by the
apex bank. Under the programme, 60 per cent goes for women-led enterprises and two per cent for people with disability.
He said the bank is targeting all the strata of the society.
“We have realised that when farmers borrow money on their own
to plant tomatoes, rice, cassava, etc, when they harvest, there is nobody
to take the produce from them.
When rice paddy growers produce, imported rice comes to spoil their
effort. Importation has dealt a deadly blow on farmers,” he said.
He said the bank published 41 items ineligible for foreign exchange
through the bank’s financial window, hence they were now
organising the farmers into groups and linking them to millers.
“At the onset, each farmer is given one hectare of land, and supplied
seedling, fertiliser and other agro chemicals.
“Out of the N220,000 loan for each farmer, only about N70,000 is
given as working capital. The rest is used to procure seedlings and all the
He said they are availed seed that can yield six to seven tonnes per
hectare and they get tractors cooperative hence the unit cost is lowered.
He said they were also covered by insurance in case of any disaster.