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NIGERIA SET TO EXPORT RICE BY 2017, SAYS CENTRAL BANK

The Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) says its Anchor Borrowers Programme aimed at promoting agriculture has set the country to begin exporting rice by 2017.

The Anchor Borrowers Programme of the CBN and the Presidential Committee on Rice Production launched in July had jointly set the target for rice exports.

The Acting Director of Corporate Communications at the central bank, Isaac Okorafor, disclosed this Tuesday at a workshop for farmers in Yenagoa in Bayelsa state in the Niger River delta region of the country. The theme of the workshop was “Promoting Stability and Economic Development”.

According to Okorafor, farmers in Kebbi, Jigawa, Ebonyi, Sokoto and Cross River states, among others, are already keyed into the programme, resulting in massive rice cultivation.

He said the country would achieve self-sufficiency in rice if this momentum was sustained, and Nigeria should be able to start exporting rice by 2017.

Kebbi State had already harvested one million tons of rice, while Ebonyi state’s harvest had outstripped the production target for the year, Okorafor said.

“The development is encouraging and by the end of 2017, we will not only meet our national demand which is between six and seven million tons but have a surplus to export. We must rid ourselves of eating foreign rice that has been stored for over nine years in (leading rice exporters) Thailand, Vietnam and India. Nigerian rice is fresh and healthier.”

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK