A 50kg bag of rice is now selling for N8,000 in Ebonyi state, eastern Nigeria.This contrasts markedly with the over N20,000 price tag for imported rice. The cheering news was reported by spokesman of Central Bank of Nigeria, Isaac Okoroafor in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state on Tuesday. Okoroafor is the Acting Director, Corporate Communication, CBN.
He spoke at a sensitization workshop for the CBN Anchor programme for farmers.
“We should eat Nigerian rice provided for by the CBN Anchor Programme; 50 Kg of local rice is now N8, 000 in Ebonyi. Already, the Abia Government has ordered rice from Ebonyi for Christmas,”.
He said that the Anchor Borrowers Programme for the promotion of Agriculture will make the country begin exportation of rice by 2017.
According to him, farmers in Kebbi, Jigawa, Ebonyi, Sokoto and Cross River states, among others, have already keyed into the programme, resulting in massive rice cultivation.
He said the country would achieve self-sustenance in rice production if the momentum was sustained, adding that the country should commence exportation of locally produced rice by 2017.
Okorafor said Kebbi State had already harvested one million tons of rice, adding that Ebonyi’s harvest had outstripped the production target for the year.
“The development is encouraging and by the end of 2017, we will not only meet our national demand which is between six and seven million tons but have surplus to export.
“We must rid ourselves of eating foreign rice that has been stored for over nine years in Thailand, Vietnam and India. Nigerian rice is fresh and healthier.
He further said: “What we have done with this programme so far is to create jobs through farming, especially for the unemployed youths.
“Nigerian youths must wake up, dust themselves up and join this worthy campaign.
“Remember that the status of our farmers is now better due to the support they are receiving as a result of government’s policy. Our currency is weak because we engaged in needless importation of all kinds of food stuffs, including tooth picks; the government is determined to stop this.”
The Branch Controller, CBN, Yenagoa, Mr. Oke Nwajah, said the state was blessed with rich wet soil that supported rice cultivation.
He therefore, urged the farmers to take pride in farming, adding that the Anchor Borrowers Programme was an intervention to reduce their burden.