By Frederick Peters, KADUNA
NEWSDAILYNIGERIA– The National President of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria,(RIFAN) , Alhaji Aminu Muhammad Goronyo, has disclosed that all the rice consumed in Nigeria since the inception of the present administration are all locally grown.
He said with the Anchor Borrowers scheme of the CBN, the government has been able to support rice farmers to produce in large scale locally to meet the needs of the local consumption adding that it was also made possible through the conscious policy of the CBN of denying forex for the importation of Rice into the country.
He made this known to newsmen at the flag-off ceremony of paddy sales and Wet season Anchor Borrower program (ABP) by the rice farmers Association (RIFAN) in Kaduna on Thursday, where he further assured Nigerians of a steady crash in the price of the commodity in due course, saying
“we are here to flag-off sales of paddy at a subsidized rate to rice millers and directed by President Muhammadu Buhari through the Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele. And you can see the amount of paddy that we have on the ground.
” And what you are seeing here is going on in 16 states of the Federation all in an effort to provide food for Nigerians, so that Nigerians will have quality and affordable food to eat”
According to him” before the coming of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration in 2015, we use to produce just about two million metric tons of paddy annually, but today, we can boast of nine million metric tons annually. There is a clear difference and we now boldly say that Nigeria is self-sufficient in rice.
“Since 2015, the Central Bank of Nigeria has made a deliberate policy not to release forex to the importers of rice. That is to say that, all the rice that we have been consuming in Nigeria since 2015 were produced locally,” he added
“Our members are dedicated, committed, courageous and patriotic Nigerians, because, despite the security challenges, they have remained in their farms, producing food for our dear country. So, they deserve credit.
But this is possible because, all the military and other security agencies like the Civil Defence, Police, Customs, Immigration and others are giving us support and that is why we are in our farms producing.
And on the possible cost of the commodity “ We have subsidized the paddy that we are selling to the Nigerian Rice Millers through the CBN and we have confidence that as patriotic Nigerians, they will also sell to consumers at an affordable rate.
” We have been assured by the Director-General of the millers association that they will replicate our gesture by also selling the milled rice to Nigerians at an affordable rate.
“We have sold the paddy to the rice millers at N190 per kilogram as against the price range of N200 and N230 per kilogram sold elsewhere. The directive came from the CBN that we subsidized the price, so that, the millers can also sell to Nigerians at a cheap rate,”
He further announced that the sales of the paddy is going in 16 states of the Federation at a subsidized rate of N190 per kilogram to millers, to enable them to mill and also sell rice to consumers at affordable prices.
He further pointed out that the flag-off was directed by President Muhammadu Buhari through the CBN to cushion the effect of the current rising prices of foodstuff,
On his part, the representative of the CBN Governor, the Kaduna Branch Controller of the Bank Ahmad Muhammad Wali, commended the farmers, while assuring them that the program would be sustained to enhance food security in the country.
Speaking further, he said as a Bank they would continue to give out loans to support productive investments as long as the are paid back adding that he’s impressed with what he has seen with the efforts of the rice farmers through the returns in their output.
Similarly the RIFAN Chairman Kaduna state Chapter, Alhaji Muhammad Umar Numbu, while appreciating the success of the flag- off in the state said ” we are selling the paddy to the millers to mill the rice and sale to Nigerians especially Kaduna state indigenes/ citizens so that the price in Kaduna state will come down, so it’s a pride to me and all Nigerians”
According to Numbu, the price will crash downwards but he may not say to how much, but by God’s Grace and combined efforts of the millers and other stakeholders ” the price will crash down to a minimum expectation that the common man can go to the market and buy rice at an affordable price “he reiterated.
One of the beneficiaries, Alh. Abdullahi Waziri, excitedly said he’s happy and comfortable by the gesture bestowed on him as one the beneficiaries since 2015, adding that, he has been experiencing progress owing to the support they are getting, assuring that with more support his output would be unprecedented.