President Muhammadu Buhari will tomorrow unveil one million bags of rice paddy stacked as pyramids in Abuja.
Considered to be the biggest of its type in Africa, the pyramids are located on the grounds of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) on Airport Road.
The rice pyramids were built with 1 million bags of rice paddy planted and harvested from states across the country under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
The bags of rice paddy that formed the pyramids were recovered from farmers in lieu of cash to pay back for the loans they collected under the ABP.
A worker of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), who spoke in confidence, said: “The paddy recovery is an ongoing effort as harvests are never concluded at the same time.
“Aggregated paddy for the pyramids across the country is a fraction of the recovered paddies. The ones used at the unveiling represent about 25 per cent of the loan amount.”
The CBN, he explained, “is marching rice millers with the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) to off-take the paddy mill and supply the Nigerian markets”.
disbursed N43.19 billion to support the cultivation of over 250,000 hectares of maize, sorghum, soya beans and rice during the 2021 dry season”.
The Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) of the CBN was launched in November 2015 to bring relief to farmers and impact the value chain of different crops in Nigeria.
From an average yield of 1.8 metric tonnes per hectare in the pre-ABP era, the initiative has increased the average yield for rice paddy and maize to about 4 to 5 metric tonnes per hectare.
There has been a 95 per cent reduction in the Nigeria’s rice import bill – from a $1.05 billion prior to 2015 to the current figure of $18.50 million, annually.
The ABP has created an estimated 12.3 million direct and indirect jobs across the different value chains and food belts across the country.
Despite insecurity, flooding during the wet season and the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and 2021, Nigerian rice farmers have been able to cultivate enough land to harvest heaps of rice piled up as pyramids dotting the skylines of some cities in different parts of the country.