In the same vein, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, also disclosed that rice production in the country rose to nine million metric tonnes in 2021 from about 5.4m MT in 2015.

Emefiele, who disclosed this at the unveiling of 13 rice pyramids in Abuja by President Muhammadu Buhari attributed the increase in production to interventions in the agricultural sector by the Federal Government.

According to him, one of such interventions is the CBN Anchors Borrower’s Programme which has built a sustainable framework for financing smallholder farmers in Nigeria.

He added that the programme had also helped to reduce Nigeria’s import bill from countries like Thailand.

Emefiele said, “The Anchor Borrowers’ Programme has catalysed the rural economy and has built a sustainable framework for financing smallholder farmers in Nigeria.

“For example, Thailand alone exported 1.3 million metric tons of rice to Nigeria in 2014. The ABP was launched in 2015 to curtail these imports, and since then, we have seen incremental reductions in rice imports from Thailand.

“By 2016, rice imports from Thailand had fallen to only 58,000 metric tons. As of the end of 2021, they only exported 2,160 metric tons to Nigeria, thereby saving us foreign exchange and helping preserve jobs in Nigeria.

At the event, President Muhammadu Buhari assured Nigerians to expect better prices for rice in no distant time.

‘I am aware that the bags of paddy will be moving straight from here to rice milling plants across Nigeria, which will lead to the release of processed rice to the markets by the rice millers. The measure will aid our efforts at reducing the price of rice in Nigeria,” he said.