The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development – Chief Audu Ogbeh has re-affirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to diversify the Nigerian economy to guarantee food security and enable the growth of a multi-sectoral Nigerian economy.
He gave the re-assurance on Friday during a one-day assessment tour of rice farms facilitated under the CBN/BOA Anchor Borrowers Rice and Wheat production programme in Argungu and Augie Local Government Areas of Kebbi state.
Commending the efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria – CBN and the Kebbi State Government for the successful implementation of the programme in the state, the minister stated that the government would support rice and flour millers to establish additional milling factories for the economy to thrive.
According to Chief Ogbeh, the programme was aimed at diversifying the economy with agriculture, to end total dependence on oil revenue, stressing that the Federal Government would ensure food self-sufficiency security and enable the growth of a multifaceted economy.
The minister tasked the state government to work hard on meeting the target production of one million metric tons of rice, maintaining that the practice whereby the Federal Government spends huge sums to import rice was unacceptable to the present administration, adding that the programme would reverse the nation’s importation trend and save foreign reserve.
The Central Bank Nigeria – CBN Governor – Mr. Godwin Emefiele, who accompanied the minister on the assessment tour, said the apex bank had provided financial support to large scale rice farmers in the state to boost farming activities and food production.
Emefiele also disclosed that the bank registered 70,871 farmers in Kebbi for the Anchor Borrowers Programme, who had begun the cultivation of farmlands for the large scale production of rice and wheat.
The farming programme according to the CBN governor had created 500,000 jobs nationwide. While commending Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State for fully implementing the programme. He called for the provision of water pumping machines, fertiliser, insecticides, and financial support to the farmers to ensure successful large scale production; and encouraged prospective farmers to register for the scheme to improve their economic status.
Gov. Bagudu, in his remark, said that the programme was designed to engage all genuine farmers, in a manner devoid of political, ethnic or religious considerations.
The minister was accompanied by the Central Bank Governor – Mr Godwin Emefiele, Gov Atiku Bagudu, Sen. Adamu Aliero and some prominent farmers including, Alhaji Garba Dandiga and Hakimi Jiga on the one-day assessment tour.