The President, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Aminu Goronyo, says annual rice production in Nigeria has increased from 5.5 million tonnes in 2015 to 5.8 million tonnes in 2017.
Goronyo disclosed this on Wednesday in an interview in Abuja.
He said that in 2015, Nigerians spent not less than N1bn on rice consumption, adding that while spending had drastically reduced, consumption had increased because of increased local production of the commodity.
“The consumption rate now is 7.9 million tonnes and the production rate has increased to 5.8 tonnes per annum,’’ Goronyo said.
The RIFAN president said the increase was as a result of the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme with a total of 12 million rice producers and four million hectares of FADAMA rice land.
Goronyo said that the programme since inception had created economic linkage between Small Holder Farmers and reputable large-scale processors, thereby increasing agricultural outputs and significantly improving capacity utilisation of processors.
The ABP was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 17, 2015 in Kebbi, aimed at creating a linkage between anchor companies involved in the processing and SHFs of the required key agricultural commodities.
The fund was provided from the N220 billion micro, small and medium enterprises development fund.
ABP evolved from the consultations with stakeholders comprising federal ministry of agriculture and rural development, state governors, millers of agricultural produce, and smallholder farmers to boost agricultural production.
Goronyo said under the ABP, RIFAN in the next 24 months would commence rice importation to West African countries as the necessary arrangements had been put in place.
“For self sufficiency, adequate and enough paddy for production ABP, which started in Kebbi state has been extended to 26 states.
“As a step further, RIFAN is in collaboration with some agencies to replicate the CBN APB programme in some states to increase production,’’ he said.
He said that RIFAN had moved a step ahead not to be caught in the web as production was being complemented by adequate provision of farm implements and inputs.
He said that RIFAN was set on capturing the West African rice market by properly harnessing its resources.
According to him, the country has huge human resources, favourable climate and potential to undergo a steady transformation in terms of techniques and marketing.
Goronyo said that even the Asian countries with similar weather conditions had successfully developed their rice production output and processing for global export.
He, however, noted that some influential Nigerians with their foreign collaborators were trying to frustrate the efforts of government on making the country to be self sufficient in rice production.