The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has credited the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme with the current revolution in rice production across the country.

The Minister stated this in Jega, Kebbi State, on Sunday while leading a delegation of over 30 journalists on an inspection of rice farms across the state.

He said the benefits that have accrued to rice farmers in the provision of improved seedling, farm input and extension services have led to the increase of yield per hectare from 2.5 to between 10 and 11 metric tonnes.

“The difference between then and now is the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme because with the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, the average farmer today is assisted in terms of input, agronomic practices and seedling.

“So this system has now taken the burden off the farmer and given him what he normally would have gone out to buy or procure. But the important thing is that from 2.5 metric tonnes to 10 to 11 metric tonnes within the same space, I think is a new revolution,” Alhaji Mohammed said.

He said with 32 states currently covered by the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, the Federal Government is determined to turn Nigeria into a net exporter of rice in the not distant future.

“Two years ago, Nigeria used to import 644,000 metric tonnes of rice from Thailand. Today, we import less than 20,000 metric tonnes…..

But I think the most important thing for us in Nigeria is to see that officially we have been able to eliminate over 90% of rice importation into Nigeria,” the Minister said.

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He said that a new pilot scheme that targets the cultivation of 200,000 hectares of rice has taken off with 31,000 farmers being empowered by the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.

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