Abeokuta — The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it would soon release more funds at not more than five per cent interest rate for farmers to acquire agriculture equipment, to enhance their productivity.Governor of the apex bank, Godwin Emefiele, stated this yesterday, during the official commissioning of the MITROS Rice processing factory and formal launch of the rice, in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
While commending the state Governor, Ibikunle Amosun for adding his quota to the Federal Government's dream of attaining food sufficiency in the area of rice production, Emefiele said any country that fails to take agriculture seriously, is an unserious country.
"The Buhari led administration is taking agriculture serious. We would support all efforts to develop the agric sector, to provide food, job and also grow the economy. The selfish aspect of it for me is that it goes to preserve our foreign exchange, as far as we produce what we eat, and we eat what we produce.
"The next step is to tell ourselves how to process the products-how do we harvest, how do we process and we would look at providing funds at not more than five per cent to acquire necessary equipment," he said.
In his speech, Amosun said availability of food is synonymous with the survival of the society as a whole, noting that besides, the state's past efforts at tackling poverty in all ramifications will amount to nothing if concerted efforts are not taken to ensure food security to people at all income levels.
" This is why today is a significant day, not just for Ogun State, but for Nigeria as well. The MITROS Rice Mill, the first of its kind in Ogun State, will create jobs for our farmers. From now on, they will no longer need to travel far and wide in search of milling facilities. With this Mill, they will not only benefit from high-quality processing of their output, but also enjoy guaranteed off-take."
"Today is, therefore, not just about the commissioning of a new processing factory - and all its benefits: processing capacity, direct and indirect jobs, economic growth, and so on, - it is also about the unveiling of a new narrative for Ofada rice. The new and improved Ofada rice that this Mill will produce will not only feed our people, but we are confident that it will generate foreign exchange for us, as a nation, and to the brand of Sawonjo, Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State and that of Nigeria," he said.The Rice Mill will produce not only parboiled rice, but also a vastly improved brand of Ofada. The new Ofada rice will be produced in a hygienic manner, and to high standards package in 1kg, 5kg, 10kg, 25kg and 50kg bags.
The rice plantation is located in Egua in Yewa South local council area of the State while the rice mill is located at Abeokuta, the state capital.Kebbi State Governor Abubakar Bagudu who doubles as Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Agricultural Commodities and production said, "Nigeria has the ability to produce rice competitively. Currently, there is no nation that can produce rice cheaper and deliver it to Nigeria and to be imported properly and for such rice to compete with the rice being produced by Nigerian farmers.
"Therefore, it is important for us all to mobilize and patronize Nigerian rice and Nigerian commodities because if anything, we know how they were produced, we know the executive standards. We know the freshness, compared to commodities we know relatively nothing about, unlike Mitros Ofada Rice, or Ebonyi rice or Confluence Rice or any other rice from any other state from Nigeria. This achievement wouldn't have been possible without the support of the Central Bank of Nigeria."