Farmers To Embrace Presidential Initiative on Rice
Alhaji Umar Salisu, a large-scale rice grower, has implored all rice farmers to work closely and take advantage of the opportunities in the Presidential Initiative on Rice.
Salisu made the call in in Hadejia on Thursday.
It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari officially launched the N40 billion Anchor Borrowers Dry Season Rice Planting Programme sponsored by the Central Bank of Nigeria in Kebbi.
The amount is part of the N220 billion Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) to be availed to rice farmers across the country at a single digit interest rate of 9 per cent per annum.
The policy document of the anchor borrowers’ programme is keen on building the capacity of banks in agricultural lending to farmers and entrepreneurs in the value chain as well as reduce rice importation, which has gulped more than N1 trillion annually.
The large-scale farmer said that by working closely, rice farmers would be able to ensure sanity in the successful implementation of the Presidential Initiative.
“It is through our association that the real farmers could be met, because we are already members of various organisations and working as an association.
“Although there are many that are not part of the association, I am still calling on them to kindly come and join the associations because it is the only way that is safe for real farmers.
“A lot of people might say money has come and this is the right time for them to get an opportunity, but when they come back to the umbrella union, there will be sanity and the leaders are looking forward to our success and gradually bring down the process to us.“
The rice farmer urged the government to adopt proactive measures to ensure that only
genuine farmers benefited from the initiative.
Salisu further called on rice farmers to use the facility and other support services provided by the government to boost production.
He lauded the initiative of the government, saying that it will help boost the production of Paddy rice and ensure self-sufficiency.
“This is a welcome idea because for long we have been looking for such opportunity. Mr President is able to launch this laudable programme.
“With this programme, rice farmers will be able to develop to such an extent that they can process rice and bridge the existing gap that foreign rice is creating in Nigeria.
“In the next two to three years, rice farmers can reach a level whereby this importation problem will come to a halt.”