Kwara joins top rice producing states with 102,000 metric tons output

Tunde Oyekola, Ilorin

Kwara State has joined top states in rice production in Nigeria with its over 102,000 metric tons output during the wet and dry season of last year.

This was contained in the Central Bank of Nigeria’s official document, celebrating the return of rice pyramid in Nigeria.

“The North Central state, which contributed over 40,000 metric tons of rice paddy to the recently unveiled rice pyramid in Abuja, was not considered a rice producing state before the administration of President Muhamadu Buhari and Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, but today, the state has emerged among the top producers in the country, courtesy of the efforts of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) in the state”, the CBN report said.

Speaking on the development, the Chairman of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Kwara State branch, Dr Ahmed Saba, said that “we thought we didn’t do enough in our production until we got to Abuja where the Central Bank of Nigeria, who is in charge of the anchor borrowers programme, unveiled the data showing that Kwara State actually did better than we thought, by being among the top rice producing states in the country.”

According to Saba, Kwara State produced 62,332 metric tons of rice paddy during the dry season and 40,000 metric tons during the wet season, making a total of 102,332 metric tons.

Commending those who made the feat possible, Saba thanked the president of RIFAN, Alhaji Aminu Goronyo, and the Central Bank of Nigeria as well as the Kwara State government for providing enabling environment and support for the programme.

“We must give kudos to the federal government of Nigeria, particularly the Central Bank of Nigeria for initiating a policy that enables farmers to access resources like never before, across all the value chain, from cultivation to harvest and sale, particularly the Ilorin team, who supported RIFAN immensely during some emergency moments,” he said.

RIFAN Chairman also praised Kwara State government for its openness and accommodation of ideas, saying that without the enabling environment provided by the state government, nothing tangible could have been achieved.

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“Since the emergence of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq in Kwara State, the state has keyed into President administration’s rice revolution in an aggressive manner and this saw its rice production rise significantly within the dry and wet season, surpassing many states across the federation.

“The federal government of Nigeria, recently celebrated the success of its rice production efforts, with the return of rice pyramid in Nigeria’s federal capital, Abuja,” he said.

The Central Bank of Nigeria, while unveiling the FCT mega rice pyramid, noted that “at a period where the country had preponderance of imported rice in the Nigerian market, with only six functional Integrated Rice Mill and a national paddy output of about 4.5 million metric tons, the Nigerian rice industry was unattractive for both farmers and millers.

The CBN said, “Demand and supply gap was being met with import of over N600 billion worth of rice annually and this necessitated the introduction of the Anchor Borrowers programme in 2015, as a game changer for small holder farmers financing.

“The anchor borrowers programme created a dynamic ecosystem among all stakeholders, through the provision of input in kind, biometric identification of farms and farmers, extension services, guaranteed markets through well established off take contracts and further linkages to the agro processors to ensure the transmission of the gains from primary production to other nodes of the value chain.”

“Through the provision of quality inputs, good agronomics practices and secured markets for off take, productivity per hectares increased to an average 4-5 metric tons, integrated rice mills grew astronomically to over 50 in 2021 thereby unlocking enormous private sector investment to the rice value chain.

“This also led to an increase in national output to over 9 million metric tons, from the initial 5 million, which is more than 80 per cent increase within the space of 5 years,” CBN said.

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