Kebbi State is fast emerging as the Thailand of Nigeria in rice production. The state is boasting of rice pyramids comprising a collection of 100,000 bags of 70kg rice paddies harvested from various fields.
The rice pyramids is the result of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP). Over the past five years, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) have pursuing a seeming ambition of turning Nigeria into the world’s biggest rice producer.
And from Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria, as part of efforts by the state government to “reform and sanitise” the red meat value chain, it has announced plans to engage “relevant stakeholders” across the state
Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, said government officials, especially from the state’s ministry of agriculture will meet with red meat value-chain operators on Wednesday, 3rd, March 2021 at the state secretariat, Ikeja.
“The administration of Babajide Sanwo-Olu is set to introduce a lot of reforms in the red meat industry in order to facilitate the development of the sector.
“To ensure the success of the reforms, there is the need to get the buy-in of all relevant stakeholders in the red meat industry.
“This is why the State is hosting the Red Meat Value Chain Stakeholders’ Engagement on Wednesday, 3rd March 2021 at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Lagos State Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja,” the Commissioner explained.
Asides from frombeing the largest market for cattle in Sub-Saharan Africa over 50 percent of Nigeria’s red meat production is said to be consumed in Lagos.
Last month, the state commissioned a semi-mechanised abattoir in the Bariga/Somolu axis to “curb illegal and unhygienic meat butchering”.
Commenting on the ‘Lagos Meat Reform’ launched by the state in 2019, Olusanya recalled the essence of the three-pronged strategy named Abattoir, Transportation, and Market(ATM).
The strategy, she said, was designed to encourage compliance with health safety protocols and facilitate the delivery of uncontaminated meat products to consumers.
According to Olusanya, implementing these reforms would pave the way for huge revenue in terms of beef export. She, therefore, called for a joint effort to achieve the desired results.
“The export potential for beef is very huge and tapping into the multi-billion dollar market is very possible if stakeholders can take these reforms seriously.
“The change we desire in our red meat industry can be achieved through our collective efforts. The government has its part to play, so do the stakeholders and even the consumers; hence, all hands must be on deck to ensure the revamp of the sector”, she said.
In the mean time, while unveiling the rice pyramids in Kebbi State’s Zauro, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, disclosed that the apex bank financed 21,450 farmers for the cultivation of 221,450 hectares in 32 states, through the 2020 wet season CBN-RIFAN partnership.
“The North-West zone with 85,261 farmers that cultivated 120,218 hectares represented 38.5 percent in the total number of farmers and 54.3 percent in the total number of hectares financed”, he said.
Known as the brainchild of CBN, the ABP was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 to provide loans to farmers to boost production of agricultural commodities such as rice, “stabilize inputs supply to agro-processors and address the country’s negative balance of payments on food”.
Emefiele charged all stakeholders to take advantage of the apex bank’s initiatives to keep stimulating the production of agricultural commodities and, thereby meet the food requirements of the country’s rising population.
“The rhetoric around neglect of previous years will remain part of our history and the best time to correct those mistakes is now and every stakeholder must contribute their quota to guarantee the realisation of these national targets.
“COVID-19 and the associated lockdowns globally have shown that nations only export out of their reserves. Let us start building our reserves now”, he said.
From the inception of the ABP till date, CBN, in partnership with RIFAN and 23 other financial institutions financed about 3 million farmers across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
According to the CBN chief, these farmers cultivated up to 3,647,642 hectares of land across 21 commodities. During the event, he also announced plans by the apex bank alongside other stakeholders to finance Nigeria’s commodity exchange markets with the sum of N50bn.
This initiative, he added, is geared towards boosting domestic food production and controlling prices of agricultural commodities in the country.
In his remarks, the RIFAN president, Aminu Goronyo, commended the Buhari-led administration for his ongoing efforts to restore the agricultural sector and ensure self-sufficiency in food production.
He further stated that the rice paddies (piled up as the pyramids) will soon be taken to millers who will process and sell the rice at a “subsidised rate” for Nigerians.