Eat local rice, increase Life expectancy

EBONYI State Governor, Engr. Dave Umahi has said that the state government has officially outlawed the entrance and consumption of foreign rice in the state. Engr. Umahi stated this, weekend when the Presidential Task force on Rice and Wheat paid an inspection visit to rice farm projects in Ebonyi State. The team which comprised Governors of Kebbi state, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku Baguda, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN Godwin Emefiele and Minister of Agriculture. Chief Audu Ogbeh visited various agricultural initiatives of the states supported by Anchore Borrowers Programme of CBN. Gov. Umahi said that the action has stimulated demand for the local staple and enriched farmers in the state. According to him, “the policy has created money in the hand of our farmers as a result of high demand of rice produced in the state. Also there are order for supply of rice from four states now to be supplied before the end of the year” Speaking at the occasion, Ogbeh said the money that is coming to Ebonyi state from other states that have placed order for Ebonyi rice will have significant impact on the well-being of the farmers and boost the economy of the state. He said time will come when Ebonyi State will generate 6 to 7 Billion Naira monthly on the local supply of rice. Chief Ogbeh also commended the CBN, boss Mr. Emefiele for the Bank’s initiation of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP). He said people who don’t believe in Nigeria as a country are the ones attacking the CBN governor saying what he is doing is wrong. While passing a vote of confidence on Mr. Emefiele, Ogbeh argued that the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme is the greatest project done in the country by the apex bank in order to reposition the real sector of the economy in last 50 years. He said history will vindicate the initiators of the Programme describing them as revolutionaries. According to him, “the initiative under the leadership of Mr. Godwin Emefiele, is making villagers rich. And until the rural communities are well taken care of Nigeria may never develop.” The Minister of Agriculture disclosed that pressures has been on government to import rice to meet the demands of the commodity, but insisted that those making such calls do not believe that the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme is working and making impact on the economy. “But one ship load of rice into the country will affect as much as 12 thousand farmers and importation only grows the economy of the exporting countries.” “It doesn’t make sense for Nigeria to continue to import rice on the background of scarce foreign exchange.” He said. On his remark, Atiku Baguda said the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) is designed to help Nigerian farmers and processors develop the sector and value chains. Bagudu said in the last one year a lot of successes have been recorded in agriculture through 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 the constraints to farmers as they are left without support. 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 CBN, Nigerian farmers are overcoming their challenges.

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