…Commend Farmers’ Resilience, Productivity Amidst Challenges
Austin Joseph, Abuja
As Nigeria’s agricultural sector gradually takes centre stage of the economy, 106 civil groups under the auspices of Coalition of Civil Society Groups, CCSG, Tuesday, hailed President Muhammadu Buhari and the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emiefele, over official launch of highest rice pyramids in Abuja.
The groups led by the President, CCSG, Bassey Etuk Williams, made the commendation at a press conference, which include Rural Integrated Development Initiative; Women Right Alliance; Initiative for Leadership and Economic Watch; Young Visioners Association of Nigeria; Sustainable Human Development; Restore Nigerian Integrity Initiative; Centre for Policy; Advocacy & Development; Network of Young Female Leaders; Pan African Society for Social Economic Change; Women Rights Alliance;
Also, Centre for Development Values; Knowledge and Development Initiative; Network of Young Female Leaders; Pan African Society for Social and Economic Change; Generational Citizen for Better Leadership; Centre for Policy Advocacy & Development; Crown Youth Initiative of Nigeria; Rural Integrated Development Group; Hold the Door for Others Initiative; Education Right Initiatives; Youth Empowerment Concern, and others.
According to Williams, the rice pyramids were made possible as a result of the drastic decision of the President to focus on the agricultural sector by introducing Anchor Borrowers Programme via the CBN to actualize the food security and sufficiency agenda by Mr. President.
He said: “The recently unveiled largest rice pyramid by President Buhari shows that Mr. President’s agenda on food security is yielding required fruits. The rice pyramid would not have been possible if not for the initiative of the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele that introduced Anchor Borrowers Programme to actualize the food security and sufficiency agenda of Mr. President.
“There is thus need to celebrate President Buhari and Godwin Emefiele for food security and self-sufficiency in rice. The advent of Anchor Borrowers has been able to assist small scale farmers to increase production and supply of feedstock to agro- processors. It’s a loan without collateral to farmers been supervised by CBN, and here we are with the resultant outcome of the input.
“Farmers and especially rice farmers have recounted their gains following the output and major achievement of the Anchor Borrower’s Programme of CBN. The programme has increased bank finance to agricultural sector, and has enhanced capacity utilization of Agricultural firms involved in production and as well improve the well-being of the farmers.
“The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele has no doubt change and transformed the agric sector with the results of the various intervention programme in the sector. The increase in banks credit growth was driven solely by policy of deposit ratio introduced by CBN Governor. More than five hundred thousand beneficiaries have benefited from the anchor borrowers programme of the CBN.
“This intervention also spans around youth investment funds, real sector and health sector. These are major areas that the CBN Governor has intervened and Nigerian are seeing the impact of the various intervention to alleviate poverty.
“With the laudable achievement recorded and showcased today, we the undersigned applaud the good initiative of CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele and President Buhari for food security and sufficiency. We hope we will have more laudable programs like this to further take our people away from poverty.
Meanwhile, the group also commended farmers’ resilience and productivity amid security challenges, “This is evidently shown in the largest rice pyramid, amidst insecurity in the land, the farmers were still able to utilize the finance to farm.
“The Anchor Borrower’s programme of CBN has no doubt yielded expected outcome as we can now talk about diversification of our economy from oil but now Agriculture as the country will soon be on the map of rice exporters to other country’s by this earn foreign earnings. This rice pyramid reminds us all of groundnut pyramid we used to have in the North.”