- Farmers to Pay 5% Interest on Loans – Emefiele
The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, has said that the Federal Government will provide cheap funds to farmers at five per cent interest rate to procure agricultural equipment so as to enhance food production.
He said this on Thursday at the launch of Ogun State’s produced MITROS rice at the agro services corporation headquarters, Asero, Abeokuta.
The CBN governor said the launching of the locally-produced Ofada and parboiled rice varieties was a pointer to the fact that the state government had keyed into the Federal Government’s agricultural revolution programme.
Emefiele, who revealed that he was part of the Presidential Task Force on Agricultural Commodities and Production (rice and wheat), that visited Ogun State about 12 months ago, said Governor Ibikunle Amosun did promise the team that it would soon return to launch the state’s own locally-produced rice.
He noted that he was happy that the governor “walked his talk,” arguing that the CBN would continue to support efforts aimed at growing the economy and providing employment.
Emefiele called on smallholder farmers to also embrace rice, cassava and other food commodities’ cultivation, stating that the next phase would be the processing.
He said, “During that visit, the governor took us round the three senatorial districts. We saw the fish ponds, we saw the poultries and we saw some rice farms. But he promised that in no distance time, he’s going to invite us and I am happy to be here today to witness this giant stride demonstrated by the rice pyramid that’s right here.
“Ogun State continues to demonstrate the urge to support the focus of the government to create jobs and to grow the economy. A country that doesn’t take agriculture seriously is naturally an unserious country.
“We are going to be looking at providing cheap funding at no more than five per cent for those who are going to be assessing facilities to acquire agric equipment like threshers, harvesters, or those who will be going into fish farming, or those who will be going into feed mills.”
The Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu, who is the Chairman, Presidential Task Force on Commodities and Agricultural Production, said Nigeria was capable of producing 50 million tonnes of rice per annum.
According to him, all the 36 states in the country have the capability to produce rice.
Bagudu stated, “All the 36 states of Nigeria have the capability of producing rice, of course, including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
“With rice, I believe we can achieve what we have achieved even with a commodity like crude oil. Because around the world, about 600 million metric tonnes of rice is produced every year, and in Nigeria, we are still producing a little less than 10 million.
“Our land size estimated by the Rice Farmers Association indicated that there are about 12 million rice farmers. This suggests that even if an average yield per farmer is the modest five tonnes, we should be producing 50 million tonnes, not under 10 million tonnes that we are currently producing.”
Amosun said the Ofada rice was produced, processed and packaged in the state.
The governor, who announced that a 50kg would sell for N11,500, said the MITROS brand of rice would be available in markets and departmental stores.
Amosun added that his government would continue to partner other state governments and private partners, as the state would not only be known as an industrial hub of the country, but also the agricultural hub.
He stated that steps were being taken to restore the cultural heritage the state was known for in the production of the famous Ofada rice.
“We have established three processing mills in each senatorial district of the state in Sawonjo, Ogun West; Asero, Ogun Central; and Ijebu North East in Ogun East, to ensure easy access to processing mills by our local farmers towards promoting quality assurance of the product,” he added.