Cross River Flags Off Cbn Rice Borrowers Program
BEVERLY HILLS, September 05, (THEWILL) – Cross River State has flagged off the Rice Borrowers Anchor Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to mark the beginning of the nation’s march to food sufficiency.
The Governor, Senator Ben Ayade, during the programme commended President Muhammadu Buhari for seeking to diversify the nation’s economy by making agriculture its main stay and lauded the efforts of the Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele in this regard.
“We must seize this opportunity to thank President Buhari for introducing this program. We must thank him because if you follow the roadmap, plan and vision for this initiative, you will definitely know that this is the beginning of the emancipation of Nigerians from their continuous dependence on imported rice,” Governor Ayade said.
The Governor also lauded Emefiele, for the gesture adding that “the rice value chain initiative remains a special ceremony that will increase rice production in Africa because Nigeria is the epic centre of Africa.”
Worried by the huge amount spent annually to import rice into the country, the governor said: “This is what President Buhari wants to stop because it has the nationalistic outlook to put an end to the declining rate of the naira to the dollar. When we stop importing rice, we will be adding value to our naira.
“It is key that you appreciate at this point the CBN governor and in particular, President Buhari, for it is a concept that we must support.”
“The vision of trying to be self-sufficient in rice production is critical but in Cross River State, we will add our own dimension to it. The government of Cross River is going to set up a proper professional food bank, the very first in Nigeria.
“We are going to set up a food bank, one in each local government area, the major essence is to serve as the catalytic financial muscle that will pick up and buy off every single seed of rice that you will produce.
“The farming we are going to do in Cross River State is going to be special because we are known for class, style and beauty. We will provide an agricultural mechanism centre to provide an industrialized support for farming.”
He reiterated the resolve of his administration to support the CBN and the Federal government’s initiative in ensuring that farmers get all needed support required for a good yield that will lead to the inclusion of other farmers into the program in the nearest future.
“This conglomeration of agricultural value chain is coming in handy at a time when we have a government that is sensitive and focusing on agriculture, I believe that if we do this rice project successfully, the rubber plantation will come in, the cocoa, groundnut, banana and cotton will all come in and we have a new horizon for business men,” the Governor said.
Story by David Oputah