Key Issues

Kano records 1.7 million tons of rice, highest in decades

The Anchor Borrower programme introduced by the Nigerian government through the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has increased Rice production in Kano state north western part of the nation to over 1.7 million metric tons, the highest in decades.

Chairman, Kano branch of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN, Abubakar, Aliyu disclosed this in an exclusive interview with Voice Nigeria in Kano saying the feat was recorded in 2018 up from the 1.2 metric tons recorded in 2016.

With the combination of youths and adult population actively involved in farming Rice during the dry and wet season the state in 2018 recorded annual production of 2 million metric tons of rice, the highest in the history of paddy production in the state for both domestic and commercial consumption, said RIFAN Chairman.

He said the state was targeting 2 million metric tons for 2018,only for the natural disaster that hit the fadama areas lying in the low land areas.

The Rice Anchor Borrower Programme was launched in November, 2015 by President Muhammudu Buhari to increase Rice production, create wealth and reduce poverty in the country.

By the scheme farmers were giving farm inputs such as fertilizers, Pest, Herbicides, Water pump Machines and quality seedlings at a reduced cost with free extension services. Farmers have grace period of three planting seasons to pay back at 30%, 30% and 40% staggered ratio respectively.

Aliyu said the scheme has equally created employment for more than 2 million youths in the state.

One hector of rice farm requests a minimum of 10 persons to cultivate. Not to talk of the milling and selling processes. Somewhere, somehow they are getting their daily bread directly or indirectly, which they use to support their families.

The programme has created jobs for millions and millions of people including adults, which translate to billions of Naira, because Rice is a staple food found everywhere in Nigeria, explains Aliyu.

He said the group has for the 2019 farming season registered over 120, 000 farmers as against 22, 000 farmers it registered in 2016 because Rice farming has become a business for all classes of human beings in Kano, as the uneducated, the educated, students and the rich now farm the product.

Earlier, than the introduction of Anchor Borrower programme we had merely 5,000 registered farmers producing less quantity, he stressed.

He said the farmers are encouraged to produce more because of up takers with modern integrated rice milling infrastructures provided by big time private companies, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises as well as that of the government located at strategic areas in the state.

Because of these up takers, modern facilities and choice of good seedlings, our Rice competes favorably with Foreign or imported ones in terms of quantity and quality. They are well blended and stone less, said the RIFAN Chairman.

He urged people to patronize the made in Nigeria rice because they are Chemical free, unlike the foreign ones which are full of preservatives and expiration dates, which often prone people to sicknesses.

He said the policy has contributed to food security strategy of the President Buahiri led administration as the nation now produces more than it consumes and hoping to export.

In a short while now we will begin to export rice to other countries. Nigeria will soon begin to earn revenue from what we will soon export, he assured.

He said RIFAN has planned to crash the price of domestic rice to N9, 000.00 from the current price of between N13 to N14,500.00 per 50kg bag, by directly purchasing from the farmers, processing them and selling to consumers in the market, therefore by passing the major up takers with large milling factories.

He said the association is at the point of procuring medium scale milling machines for the purpose as well as intensive usage of the milling industries established by the federal government to reduce cost of production and achieve the set objective.

Very soon, you will see our rice in the market at a reduced price of N9,000.00 because that is the target of our National chairman. Right now we have stores filled with rice to kick start the process, boosted the Chairman.

He however regretted the impact of natural disaster through flooding that washed away hundreds of thousands of hectors of rice farm in the last rainy season.

Some farmers say, the programme has impacted positively on their lives as they have increased farming capacity during dry and raining season.

One of them, Ahmodu Ali, whose farm is located around Bunkure � Kura axis, where over 40,000 hectors of rice is cultivated all season said, he now cultivates up to four hectors up from one cultivated before due to the scheme, thereby enhancing his purchasing power.

Now, I pay my children’s school fees without stress, started a modern building to relocate to from the mud block house I have stayed in for years. Above all, there is food in my house all year round. I do all these after paying back the required money to the government. I started in 2016 and after three farming seasons (wet and dry) I freed myself, emphasized Ali.

Ali said he had paid up the entire loan in 2018 and free to make more money because I can now stand on my own without debt.

There are others who wished the payment period should be based on yearly farming and not farm period of rainy and dry season. They still want the cost of the input reduced as they claim the cost is at par with what obtains in the open market.

Kano has over 22 earth dams across the state with the highest number of registered farmers for the Rice Anchor borrower programme in the country.

Source: Voice of Nigeria