The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the brain behind massive rice farming across the country under the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) has put up a joint programme with Rice Farmers Association (RiFAN) that will work out modalities for crashing price of local rice from current N18,000 to between N6,500 and N7,000 before April next year.
This was made public by the National President of RiFAN, Alhaji Aminu Goronyo, in Abuja.
According to him, the price-reduction plans would be achieved under the joint programme of RIFAN and the ABP planned to be launched in Abuja on Jan. 13, 2018.
Continuing, he averred that about 12 million rice farmers in the country would benefit from the one-year partnership, adding, that 300,000 rice farmers from 20 states would be supported at the beginning of the programme from the new year.
Goronyo added that under the new initiative, the CBN had modified the programme to facilitate its direct relations with RIFAN so as to ensure timely disbursement and full repayment of loans, unlike what obtained in the past.
The new initiative would double the achievements of the earlier edition of ABP, which was launched on Nov. 17, 2015 in Kebbi, with a target to produce additional 2.5 million tonnes of paddy rice.
It would be recalled that in 2015, Nigerians spent not less than N1bn daily on rice consumption, adding that while the spending had reduced drastically, rice consumption had increased significantly because of the increase in local production of rice.
Apart from Lagos and Kebbi that can be said to have kick-started joint venture in local rice production, several other states are hitting the market with their brands including Imo, Cross River, Ogun, Nasarrawa, Niger and others.
Currently, available statistics in rice consumption showed that the rice consumption rate in the country now had increased from 7.9 million tonnes to over 8 million tonnes, while the volume of rice production had increased from 5.8 million tonnes to 6.9 million tonnes per annum.
RiFAN boss revealed further that some of the efforts to further crash price of rice include collaborations with Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI) and other African countries in boosting rice production and exports in Africa.
In his further submission, he said with the rate of massive investments both by states and private investors, Nigeria may begin to lead in Africa’s rice export by 2020.