In a bid to boost rice production, Nigeria has flagged off the Rice Anchor Borrowers’ Programme in Imo State.
The sum of N9 billion has been earmarked to support farmers in the state for the programme.
The programme is to provide farmers with credit facility made available by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The programme was launched at the Imo State International Conference Centre in Owerri, the state’s capital in southeast Nigeria.
Governor Rochas Okorocha explained that the aim was to provide food and guarantee food security in the country.
He added that the development was also targeted at empowering the teeming unemployed youths and create the much needed dividends of democracy to the people.
Governor Okorocha called on the people of the state, especially farmers to support the programme, which he described as a “laudable gesture by the CBN”.
He stressed the need for Nigerians to embrace agriculture as Nigeria battles with recession.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Water Resources in the state, Udo Aguoha, also highlighted the benefits of the programme.
The event was witnessed by the Kebbi State Governor, Sen. Abubakar Bagudu and representatives from the CBN led by the Head of Development Finance, Mrs Nkechi Osuji.
Mrs Osuji revealed that Kebbi State government had already gotten access to 20 billion Naira credit facilities on the programme.
With the support, she expressed hope that the state government would harvest at least one million tonnes of locally made rice by the end of 2016.
Governor Bagudu, on his part, corroborated Osuji’s claim.
He commended the Federal Government for the intervention programme, saying it would help to cushion the effect of the economic recession in Nigeria.
The Rice Anchor Borrowers’ programme is an initiative of the Federal Government through the CBN and its primary aim is to provide credit facilities to rice farmers.
It is targeted at encouraging local production; reduce rice importation as well as providing food and job security for the citizenry.