Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Nigeria Needs No Rice Importation - Governor Abubakar

Sequel to a recent protests against resumption of importation of rice embarked upon by members of the Rice Farmers Association in Bauchi state, Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, Sunday, undertook assessment visits to some major rice farmlands under the Anchor Borrowers and assured the farmers of government’s commitment and continuous support to the successes of the programme.
According to a press statement signed by Press Secretary to the governor, Malam Abubakar Al-Sadique, Governor Mohammed Abubakar while addressing he farmers after visiting farmlands with over 2500 hectres of rice in Itas Gadau and Zaki local government areas, said his administration had provided 400 million naira to the programme as a palliative measure for the farmers to continue with cultivation that would have been hampered by the delay in the release of funds to associations by commercial banks.
The governor explained that the administration was compelled to take that action because of the failure of commercial banks to release the funds to the Anchor Borrowers Rice Farmers associations in the state, but assured them that the problems encountered in accessing the funds from the CBN-supported scheme in the state are being addressed with the banks.
Governor Mohammed Abubakar explained that provided 400 million naira and all the support to the programme before addressing the issues with the commercial banks the Commitment to supporting farmers in the state, commended the resilience and determination of the farmers, assuring them of his administration’s support, and charged the farmers not to relent, adding that Bauchi state will soon take the lead in rice production.
Governor Abubakar lauded the efforts and performance of the farmers and their commitment to the rice cultivation, saying with the continuous governments’ support, Nigeria which has abundant arable land suitable for rice cultivation in most states of the federation including Bauchi, will soon produce enough rice to feed the nation and be an exporter of the product to neighboring countries.
Leaders of associations of farmers in the farmlands visited expressed gratitude to the Bauchi state governor for his timely interventions “without which they said the scheme wouldn’t have seen been a success”.
Speaking on behalf of other beneficiaries of the Anchor Borrowers programme, Malam Babangida Gadam told the governor that the introduction government support schemes to irrigation farming in the state, especially rice farming, has reduced rural-urban migration and boosted their socioeconomic life as their “households have become more economically empowered and better than they used to be”.
It will be recalled that Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar had last week urged members of Rice Farmers Association who were on a peaceful protest match to the Government House in Bauchi to disregard calls for the resumption of importation of rice into the country as both the Federal and State governments have endorsed local rice production as a necessary step taken by the Muhammadu Buhari administration for Nigeria to create jobs and diversify her sources of earning foreign exchange while attaining food security.
A statement issued by Press Secretary to the governor, Malam Abubakar Al-Sadique, says the governor had commended members of the Rice Farmers Association for making their demands through peaceful protest, explained that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari suspended the importation of rice and introduced the policy of its local production because the nation is endowed with everything it needs to produce enough to feed the nation and to “fully harness the agricultural endowments in the country”.
“President Muhammadu Buhari properly acknowledges the sufferings in the land, but also reminds us that we have to make sacrifices before we take Nigeria to the Promised Land. He always reminds Nigerians that Nigeria is our country, and there is no any other country for us, so we must remain here and salvage it together”, the governor told the protesting farmers.
He recalled that the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme was introduced by the Federal government in order to encourage local rice production and save billions of naira the nation loses in foreign exchange, and pledged to continue rendering all the necessary support to the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria to make Bauchi state one of the major producers of the commodity in Nigeria.
“My administration, like the Buhari administration does everything within the limited resources available to government to encourage our local farmers to boost agriculture especially rice production. Our youths are unemployed while most of our people especially rural dwellers are famers and most of the fertile land we’re endowed with still remains uncultivated. This necessitated our administration’s determination to exploit the opportunities that abound in agriculture for our state and nation to regain the greatness”, the governor reportedly said.
The statement also quoted Governor Abubakar as saying that his administration has since commenced the purchase of rice cultivated locally in the State from the Rice Farmers Association for free distribution to the less-privileged in this holy month of Ramadan.
The statement further said the governor had pledged government’s support to the Rice Farmers’ Association while recalling that since assuming office as governor of Bauchi state in 2015, the administration has facilitated the successful implementation of all Federal government’s development programmes, especially agriculture in like the Anchor Borrowers programme in the state.
Malam Abubakar Al-Sadique is the Press Secretary to Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, June 11, 2017

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