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FG Targets 17 Million Rice Farmers This Year

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The number of rice farmers in Nigeria is currently being increased by five million people in order to enhance rice cultivation across the country, the Federal Government has announced.

It said although rice farmers in Nigeria increased from five million to 12 million in the past two years, it was important to attract more people into the business so as to attain sufficiency in rice production.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this during a tour of some rice farms, stated that the government had commenced the cultivation of rice on additional 200,000 hectares of land in different states across the country.

He stated that 25 farmers would cultivate the crop on each hectare, adding that a total of five million farmers would be needed to work on the 200,000 hectares of farmland.

Mohammed further explained that the initiative had commenced in Kano, where 31,000 farmers had been engaged by the Central Bank of Nigeria through the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme.

He said, “We’ve grown the number of rice farmers from five million two years ago to over 12 million today. And there is a pilot scheme going on this season again with 200,000 hectares for the cultivation of rice. Now, each hectare employs 25 people; so that will have another five million people that will be added to the rice revolution.

“We want to make Nigeria self-sufficient in rice production and the fact that we are now growing the number of our farmers and we are reducing importation means that we are gradually getting to our target of self-sufficiency in food production.

“The cultivation of rice on 200,000 hectares has been flagged off and right now, about 31,000 farmers are being empowered by the CBN under this initiative in Kano this season.”

Mohammed stated that aside from Kebbi State, one of the most popular states involved the project, 31 other states were already planting rice in commercial quantity.

“There are 32 states producing rice in Nigeria and the same model is being used, which is the CBN Anchor Borrowers programme. This programme provides the farmers with seedlings, farm inputs, extension and advisory services, among others. And we can see the result of this programme,” he said.

The minister reiterated that Thailand had commenced moves to establish rice mills in Nigeria, encouraged by the increasing number of farmers and states involved in rice production in the country.

He said the Federal Government had won its fight against rice importation, especially from Thailand, as Nigeria had reduced its importation of rice by over 90 per cent.

“As we speak today, Thailand rice growers are making passionate appeal to the Federal Government. What they are doing now is that they want to set up rice mills in Nigeria, which means we have won,” Mohammed stated.

When asked again to explain why Thailand rice producers were pushing to set up mills in Nigeria, Mohammed said, “Thailand wants to set up several rice mills in Nigeria because we have stopped importing from them.”

He stated that Nigeria was able to cut down on the importation of rice from Thailand from 644,000 metric tonnes two years ago to a little over 20,000MT currently.

Mohammed particularly lauded the Kebbi State Government as he noted that the state was pushing the country’s rice revolution to greater heights.

Speaking alongside the information minister, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Kebbi State, Mohammed Dandiga, said over 200,000 farmers were involved in the cultivation of rice across the 16 local government areas in the state.

He said Kebbi had attained self-sufficiency in rice production and was already supplying the commodity in large quantity to other states of the federation.

Dandiga noted that between December 2015 and March 2018, the volume of rice from Kebbi State has grown from 2.5 metric tonnes per hectare to 11 metric tonnes per hectare.

He said, “For us, this is something very important, considering the impact which it has on wealth creation for these farmers, particularly since the past two years. We are working hard to increase the participation of others who are interested in agriculture because we now have off-takers.

“Nigerian rice is now the preferred choice, unlike what it used to be in the past and this is because we now have standard rice mills in Kebbi and some other parts of the country.”

The President, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Aminu Goronyo, recently stated that Nigerians consumed about 7.9 million tonnes of rice in 2017, with the country’s local farmers producing 5.8 million tonnes last year.

Out of this local production, Kebbi State accounted for about one million tonnes last year.

The state government recently stated that with greater investment, especially from the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme and better access to farm inputs, Kebbi planned to raise its rice production to 2.5 million metric tonnes in 2018. Rice is grown mainly in 16, out of the 21 local government areas in Kebbi State.

In August 2017, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo inaugurated a N10bn rice mill in Argungu, Kebbi State, with a milling capacity of 500,000 tonnes.

The Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu, recently announced that the 200,000 farmers in his state were growing rice on over 400,000 hectares.

He said, “It is heart-warming for us to know that we are able to create wealth for rice farmers and that as a result of the production of rice in Kebbi, Nigeria has been able to reduce its importation of rice by over 90 per cent.

“This is good news and it shows that a lot of people not just in Kebbi State are now producing rice and very soon, we will start exporting the commodity. In Kebbi, there are farmers who are under the Central Bank of Nigeria Anchor Borrowers programme.

“We also have those who work for private companies. A large number of farmers numbering about 200,000 are into rice production in our state and they now cultivate on not less than 400,000 hectares of land across the state.”

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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World Bank Commits Over $15 Billion to Support Nigeria’s Economic Reforms

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The World Bank has pledged over $15 billion in technical advisory and financial support to help the country achieve sustainable economic prosperity.

This commitment, announced in a feature article titled “Turning The Corner: Nigeria’s Ongoing Path of Economic Reforms,” underscores the international lender’s confidence in Nigeria’s recent bold reforms aimed at stabilizing and growing its economy.

The World Bank’s support will be channeled into key sectors such as reliable power and clean energy, girls’ education and women’s economic empowerment, climate adaptation and resilience, water and sanitation, and governance reforms.

The bank lauded Nigeria’s government for its courageous steps in implementing much-needed reforms, highlighting the unification of multiple official exchange rates, which has led to a market-determined official rate, and the phasing out of the costly gasoline subsidy.

“These reforms are crucial for Nigeria’s long-term economic health,” the World Bank stated. “The supply of foreign exchange has improved, benefiting businesses and consumers, while the gap between official and parallel market exchange rates has narrowed, enhancing transparency and curbing corrupt practices.”

The removal of the gasoline subsidy, which had cost the country over 8.6 trillion naira (US$22.2 billion) from 2019 to 2022, was particularly noted for its potential to redirect fiscal resources toward more impactful public investments.

The World Bank pointed out that the subsidy primarily benefited wealthier consumers and fostered black market activities, rather than aiding the poor.

The bank’s article emphasized that Nigeria is at a turning point, with macro-fiscal reforms expected to channel more resources into sectors critical for improving citizens’ lives.

The World Bank’s support is designed to sustain these reforms and expand social protection for the poor and vulnerable, aiming to put the economy back on a sustainable growth path.

In addition to this substantial support, the World Bank recently approved a $2.25 billion loan to Nigeria at a one percent interest rate to finance further fiscal reforms.

This includes $1.5 billion for the Nigeria Reforms for Economic Stabilization to Enable Transformation (RESET) Development Policy Financing, and $750 million for the NG Accelerating Resource Mobilization Reforms Programme-for-Results (ARMOR).

“The future can be bright, and Nigeria can rise and serve as an example for the region on how macro-fiscal and governance reforms, along with continued investments in public goods, can accelerate growth and improve the lives of its citizens,” the World Bank concluded.

With this robust backing from the World Bank, Nigeria is well-positioned to tackle its economic challenges and embark on a path to sustained prosperity and development.

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Nigeria’s Food Inflation Hits 40.66% Year-on-Year in May 2024

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Nigeria’s food inflation rate surged to 40.66% on a year-on-year basis in May 2024, a significant increase from 24.82% recorded in May 2023.

The latest figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) highlight the rising cost of essential food items, exacerbating the economic challenges faced by many Nigerians.

The NBS report attributes the steep rise in food inflation to substantial price increases in several staple items.

Notably, the prices of Semovita, Oatflake, Yam flour, Garri, and Beans saw considerable hikes.

In addition, the cost of Irish Potatoes, Yams, Water Yam, Palm Oil, and Vegetable Oil also climbed significantly. Within the protein category, Stockfish, Mudfish, Crayfish, Beef, Chicken, Pork, and Bush Meat experienced notable price jumps.

The month-on-month food inflation rate in May 2024 was 2.28%, reflecting a slight decrease of 0.22 percentage points from the 2.50% recorded in April 2024.

This month-to-month decline was due to a slower rate of price increases for Palm Oil, Groundnut Oil, Yam, Irish Potatoes, Cassava Tuber, Wine, Bournvita, Milo, and Nescafe.

Despite the minor monthly decrease, the average annual food inflation rate for the twelve months ending May 2024 was 34.06%.

This marks a significant rise of 10.41 percentage points from the average annual rate of 23.65% recorded in May 2023.

The sharp rise in food inflation is raising concerns among economic analysts and policymakers, as it significantly impacts the cost of living for Nigerians.

The rising food prices are straining household budgets and contributing to an overall inflation rate that threatens economic stability.

In response to the inflationary pressures, the Nigerian government and relevant stakeholders are being urged to implement effective measures to stabilize food prices and address the underlying causes of inflation.

Efforts to boost agricultural productivity, improve supply chains, and tackle market inefficiencies are seen as critical to mitigating the inflationary trend.

The NBS report underscores the urgent need for comprehensive strategies to manage inflation and ensure food security for the population.

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Nigeria’s Inflation Rate Climbs to 33.95% in May, NBS Reports

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The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has revealed that Nigeria’s headline inflation rate rose to 33.95% in May 2024, a slight increase from the 33.69% recorded in April.

This 0.26 percentage point rise underscores the ongoing economic challenges the country faces as it continues to grapple with rising prices and economic instability.

The report highlights that on a year-on-year basis, the headline inflation rate increased by 11.54 percentage points compared to May 2023, when the rate was 22.41%. This significant annual increase indicates a persistent upward trend in the cost of living for Nigerians over the past year.

However, the month-on-month analysis presents a mixed picture. The headline inflation rate for May 2024 was 2.14%, slightly lower than the 2.29% recorded in April 2024. This 0.15 percentage point decrease suggests a marginal slowdown in the rate at which prices are rising month by month.

Urban vs. Rural Inflation Rates

The NBS report also provides detailed insights into urban and rural inflation dynamics. In urban areas, the inflation rate in May 2024 stood at 36.34% on a year-on-year basis, a substantial 12.61 percentage points higher than the 23.74% recorded in May 2023.

On a month-on-month basis, urban inflation was 2.35%, down by 0.32 percentage points from April 2024’s rate of 2.67%.

Conversely, the rural inflation rate for May 2024 was 31.82% year-on-year, which is 10.63 percentage points higher than the 21.19% recorded in May 2023.

Month-on-month, rural inflation slightly increased to 1.94% from 1.92% in April 2024, indicating a steady rise in prices in rural regions.

Implications and Responses

The continuous rise in inflation, particularly in urban areas, poses significant challenges for the Nigerian economy.

The increase in prices for essential goods and services such as food, transportation, and housing is putting immense pressure on household budgets and the overall standard of living.

Economic analysts suggest that the persistent inflationary pressures are driven by several factors, including supply chain disruptions, increased production costs, and fluctuating exchange rates. The impact of these factors is felt more acutely in urban areas, where the cost of living is inherently higher.

In response to these inflationary trends, policymakers are under pressure to implement measures that can stabilize prices and ease the financial burden on citizens.

Strategies such as tightening monetary policy, increasing food production, and improving supply chain efficiency are being considered to curb the rising inflation.

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