Cross River to establish rice mill with CBN N3bn loan

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Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River, has said the state government has obtained N3bn loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria for the establishment of state-of-the-art rice mill.

ayade

Ayade made the disclosure on Thursday in Calabar after inspecting rice mills in Ogoja and Obudu accompanied by CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and Kebbi State governor, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu.

He said, “The loan is being disbursed through the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme.

“The programme is aimed at upgrading small farmers to commercial farmers, thereby achieving the objective of stimulating the needed capacity to meet the nation’s increasing food needs.”

Ayade said that when established, the mill would provide jobs and food security for the people of the state.

He said, “Cross River is focused about being food sufficient; that is why the N3 billion loan the CBN gave the state has been set aside to set up rice mill.

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“The 78,000 farmers that we will be working with, will have the benefit of processing all the rice they will harvest at the mill.

“At the moment 80 per cent of rice farmed in Cross River State ends up at Ebonyi mill and processed as Abakiliki rice.

“But all of that will stop with the intervention of the CBN loan through the Anchor Borrowers Programme.”

The governor said that his administration had allocated 18,000 square kilometres of land for rice farming.

He said that the mill would be high tech to minimise waste and process broken pieces of rice into cereal for children.

In his remarks, the CBN governor Godwin Emefiele, predicted that with the transformation in rice production taking place across the country, Nigeria could become self sufficient in rice production by 2017.

He said, “I was reading in the papers where someone said it will take us five years to be self sufficient in rice production.

“I want to tell you that that person has bad news.

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“Rice farmers association has said that economic saboteurs hindering rice production and we all need to stand against them.

“I can tell you that we are going to rise above this and we will produce rice, tomatoes, wheat and other agricultural produce to feed our people.

“We do not have a choice but to move in that direction.”

The apex bank governor stated that Forex restriction on importation of rice had encouraged local rice farmers to boost production.

He promised that the CBN would assist farmers who are interested in cultivating rice, cassava, palm, and other agricultural products.

Bagudu expressed happiness with the efforts being made by farmers across the country to make Nigeria food sufficient especially in rice production.

He expressed confidence that with the level of financing from the CBN, Nigeria would be self sufficient in production of some crops and even commence export of such crops in less than one year.

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The Special Adviser to the CBN governor on Development Finance, Mr. Paul Eluhaiwe, said there are over 40 integrated rice mills scattered across the country.

He said, “These rice mills will process at least 5 metric tonnes of rice per hour.

“The Federal Ministry of Agriculture will also provide medium scale millers for small and medium scale farmers in the country.”

The annual consumption of rice in Nigeria is put at over 6 million metric tonnes per annum while local production of the crop is put at 2.8 million metric tonnes.

Bagudu is the Chairman, Presidential Task force on Rice and Wheat production.

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