Posted by News Express | 28 November 2016 | 1,976 times
The Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, has described the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, as revolutionary in his economic management strategy. According to Chief Ogbe, the CBN Governor has etched his name in the annals of Nigeria’s economic management history as revolutionary with the rice revolution he started across the country.
The minister passed this vote of confidence on Emefiele, on Friday, November 25, 2016, in company of Ebonyi and Kebbi states Governors, Engr. Dave Umahi and Alhaji Abubakar Baguda, during an inspection tour by the Presidential Task Force on Rice and Wheat Production to several farms in Ebonyi State.
Chief Ogbe noted that the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) on rice and wheat remains the greatest achievement of Mr. Godwin Emefiele in the last 50 years of the CBN.
The minister disclosed that there had been tremendous pressure on the government to import rice in order to meet the demand for the commodity, which was an indication that those mounting such pressure never believed that the ABP was working.
Chief Ogbe said that it does not make any economic sense to continue to spend scare foreign exchange on rice importation, when the country has huge potential to grow rice in commercial quantity, noting that each ship load of rice imported into the country displaces 12,000 farmers from employment.
The minister also stated that the money coming to Ebonyi State from other states that have placed order for Ebonyi rice will have significant impact on the wellbeing of the farmers and boost the economy of the state.
He said time will come when Ebonyi State will generate N6 billion to N7 billion from local supply of rice, noting that successive governments were unable to create wealth among rural dwellers until now. According to him, the CBN ABP initiative under the leadership of Mr. Godwin Emefiele, is making rural dwellers rich.
The Ebonyi State Governor, Engr. Dave Umahi also commended the CBN Governor for managing the economy of the nation in the face of global dwindling of resources occasioned by plummeting oil prices.
“Recession is not peculiar to Nigeria and you have done well to manage the state of the nation's economy,” he added.
Governor Umahi said people that want to pull Nigeria down are the people criticizing the Central Bank of Nigeria.
He said state Governors knew that without the assistance of Mr. President and the good will of the CBN Governor to drive the economy, states government would have been in crisis.
“You have honestly shown your commitment and selfless services to our nation,” he added.
The Ebonyi State Governor said Ebonyi has always been known for Agriculture, and solicited for CBN support in improving agriculture and the value chain, noting that there is no way agriculture will develop without support.
Umahi said the country made a mistake in the past for not investing in infrastructure to drive Agriculture but it behooves on the present administration to develop agriculture and Infrastructure. He said the state needs assistance to be able to cultivate rice in all season farming. Umahi said Ebonyi wants to venture into dry season farming but needs assistance. He said there are over 30 dams in the state; and so needs CBN's assistance in the areas of irrigation and financial support to farmers.
The Kebbi State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku Baguda said the Anchor Borrowers' Programme (ABP) is designed to help Nigerian farmers and processors develop agriculture and its value chain.
Bagudu said in the last one year a lot of successes have been recorded in agriculture through the the Anchor Borrowers' Programme. He said what is on ground in terms of rice output suggests that the goal of self-sufficiency that was targeted for 2017 have already been achieved.
Governor Bagudu lamented that over the years, wrong policies have been major constraints to farmers as they were left without support and encouragement.
He however, expressed hope that courtesy of the framework that have been put in place by the Federal Government in partnership with the states under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari with support from the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigerian farmers are overcoming their challenges.
Bagudu appreciated the efforts of the Ebonyi State Government for keying into the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme as 50, 000 farmers are slated to benefit from January next year.
While further thanking President Buhari and the CBN Governor for the ABP initiative, he assured farmers of access to input financing and the government's continued maximum support to them.
The CBN Governor said with the dwindling foreign reserve, the country could not continue to import rice, hence the President Buhari's directive to focus on Agriculture especially rice production.
Emefiele thanked and appreciated the Ebonyi State Government for responding to the President's call despite the lack of fund from the Anchor Borrowers' Programme, the state government had used its money to improve production.
Though the farmers were unable to access the Anchor Borrowers' Programme (ABP) support due to challenges in registering the farmers, the CBN Governor however, reassured that with the dry season farming about to start, farmers in Ebonyi will access the facility.
Emefiele said with the support and commitment of the ministry of Agriculture, machines will be available to farmers for harvest in the coming year. He also assured the farmers that challenges such as irrigation funding will be addressed.
He said with support from the CBN and the Federal Government, state government's pledge to produce 400, 000 metric tons of rice per cropping season, amounting to almost a a million metric tons a year will be actualised.
Highpoints of the event was the Presidential Task force on Rice and Wheat visit to Ekaeze Rice farm in Ivo Local Government Area, Ikwo irrigation dam and Abakaliki Rice Mill.
•Photo shows CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele (bending down)admiring the quality of Ebonyi rice, in company of Ebonyi State Governor, Chief Dave Umahi (third from left); Minister of agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe (fourth from left); Kebbi State Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku BAgudu (third from right) . . . in Abakaliki over the weekend.
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