By Joy Akinsanya
The Federal Government will provide cheap funds of not more than five per cent to farmers who wants to acquire agricultural equipment and feeds.
The Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, made this known on Thursday at the official launch of Mitros Ofada Rice in Abeokuta.
Emefiele said the cheap funds would help conserve foreign exchange as “we will no longer depend on foreign exchange to import agricultural produce.’’
The apex bank governor, who identified lack of fish feeds as a major setback for fish farmers, also said the Federal Government would offer support to them.
He commended Gov. Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun for the initiatives to create jobs and boost food security.
“The Central Bank will continue to support anybody who makes an attempt to grow our agricultural sector.
“ This is because by doing this, we provide food and jobs for our people and in doing this, we grow our economy.
“Ogun State continues to demonstrate the urge to support the focus of the government to create jobs and grow the economy.
“ A country that does not take agriculture seriously is naturally an unserious country.
“We have a lot of people who wants to go into fish farming but the major problem is fish feeds. Be rest assured that if you identify yourself, you will be counted and we’ll support you,” he said.
Also speaking, Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu, said the Federal Government had been taking steps to revamp the agricultural sector so as to ensure food sufficiency.
Bagudu, who is the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Agricultural Commodities and Production, said all the 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory, have the capability to grow rice.
“With rice, I believe we can achieve what we have achieved, even with a commodity like crude oil because around the world, about 600 million metric tonnes of rice are produced every year, and in Nigeria, we are still having a little less than 10 million.
” Our land size estimated by the Rice Farmers Association indicated that there are about 12 million rice farmers.
“ This suggests that even if an average yield per farmer is the modest five tonnes, that means we should be producing 50 million tonnes, not under 10 million tonnes we are currently producing.
“ Nigeria has the ability to produce rice competitively,’’ he said.
Amosun, in his speech, said that the inauguration of mitros rice is an investment in the mission to rebuild the state.
He said the state had attracted over 70 per cent of industrial investment, adding that his administration would continue to partner with the Federal Government and private sector in boosting food sufficiency in the country.
The governor added that production of Mitros rice had also helped in creating jobs for farmers in the state.
“The Mitros ofada rice and other rice that we grow are planted, processed and packaged by farmers from Ogun, ” he said.
He urged the people of the state to partronise Mitros rice during the festive period instead of foreign rice.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the rice comes in 50kg, 25kg,10kg, 5 kg and 1 kg bags.