By Kadiri Abdulrahman
Mr Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has urged rice mills in the country to embrace CBN’s backward integration initiatives aimed at conserving foreign exchange reserves.
Information obtained from CBN’s website indicates that Emefiele made the call on Tuesday, during the inauguration of Garewa Rice Mills in Kano.
He said that such initiatives would also revamp local production capacity and create employment.
He stressed the need for rice mills in Nigeria to get involved in paddy production to guarantee sustainable supply of rice paddy to their mills.
He said that such a move would also complement supply from the smallholder farmers through the apex bank’s partnership with the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) and prime anchors.
He noted that the number of rice mills in Nigeria had grown from less than 10 with a combined capacity of less than 350,000 metric tons in 2015 to over 68 with a combined capacity of three million metric tons as at January.
He said that the introduction of the Anchor Borrowers ‘ Programme (ABP) in 2015, had enabled immense growth in the sector, adding that about 10 more mills would be inaugurated within the year.
“Food security remains a cardinal deliverable for every developing economy as it serves as the fulcrum of many other economic development indices,” he said.
The CBN governor assured rice millers of collaboration in boosting the rice value chain in Nigeria.
He added that the revamped Nigeria Commodity Exchange would facilitate grading, sorting, quality assurance and storage infrastructure for key agricultural commodities. (NAN)