On Tuesday, January 18, 2022, I presided over the official commissioning ceremony of the Central Bank of Nigeria / Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) Rice Paddy Pyramids at the Abuja International Trade Fair Complex.
Those Pyramids are strong reminders of our yester-year’s agricultural commodity pyramids, such as the groundnut pyramids in Kano. Secondly, they symbolize that we can produce what we eat.
We have previously unveiled and showcased similar sky-high rice paddy pyramids in Argungu, Kebbi State, Minna, Niger State, Zauro, Kebbi State, and Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State.
Today, rice production in Nigeria has increased to over 7.5 million metric tons annually. Prior to the introduction of Anchor Borrowers Programme (APB), the average production in Nigeria between 1999 to 2015 was less than 4 metric tons annually.
Before this administration launched the ABP, there were only 15 standard Rice mills in Nigeria. As at today, we have over 50 Standard and integrated Rice mills creating jobs and reducing unemployment. We expect additional significant output when two new mills are started in Lagos and Katsina.
Across Nigeria, more than 4.8 million smallholder farmers have so far been supported by the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, with resultant increase in the production of 23 agricultural commodities including maize, rice, oil palm, cocoa, cotton, cassava, tomato and livestock.
The Programme has increased access to finance by our rural farmers, who before now were virtually excluded from the financial system.
The Anchor Borrowers’ Programme is working; there is no doubt about that. Nigeria is making steady and assured progress towards self-sufficiency in food production.
I am very delighted that the Programme continues to receive commendations, since its introduction six years ago, as it has become one of the reference points in the administration’s agricultural revolution effort.
The bags of paddy from the Pyramids will be moving straight to rice milling plants across Nigeria, which lead to the release of processed rice to the markets by the rice millers. The measure will aid our efforts at reducing the price of rice in Nigeria.
Let me commend the Governor and staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria, as well as the leadership of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria for the successful delivery of these pyramids, which hopefully is just the first of many that will be unveiled this year across Nigeria.