Secondary students from seven Schools in Kebbi state were on Saturday at mega rice pyramids at Zauro, near Birnin Kebbi, for an excursion.
The educational excursion visit to the thirteen giant rice pyramids was aimed at motivating the students to develop interest in Agriculture.
It is also aimed at enlightening them on the Anchor Borrowers Program ( ABP), and how the program had triggered massive rice production, not only in Kebbi State, but Nigeria as a whole.
It is also targetted at chronicling how the ABP had greatly facilitated the attainment of food security by Nigeria.
The excursion to the giant rice pyramids by the students was also coming at a time when the Kebbi State Government, in collaboration with Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN, had successfully commemorated the 5th Anniversary of Anchor Borrowers’ Programme as well as the flagging- off of National Rice Festival and the 2020/2021 Dry Season Rice Cultivation, on Tuesday, in Zauro, Kebbi State.
The epoch-making symbolised the enormous success recorded in the last five years of the inception of ABP, in Kebbi State.
The students were drawn from seven Secondary Schools, namely: Nagari College, Birnin Kebbi, Emir Haruna Rasheed College , Birnin Kebbi, Government Girls Comprehensive College, Argungu, Dr. Amina Abubakar Girls College, Birnin Kebbi, Government Girls Unity College, Birnin Kebbi and Kanta College, Argungu.
They were escorted by their Principals,while the students were taken round the pyramids by some members of RIFAN, led by the State Chairman, Alhaji Sahabi Muhammad Augie.
Augie took time to explain to the students the genesis of the program initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari, through the CBN, from 2015 to date
The success story, he noted, would not have been possible without the moral and material support of Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, the Chairman Progressives Governors’Forum, the Chairman Presidential Task Force on Rice and Wheat Production and the Vice Chairman, National Food Security Council.
He said:” Before the inception of the program launched in Kebbi State, in November, 2015, by President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria largely depended on foreign rice, to meet it its domestic demands.
” Nigeria used to heavily depend on foreign rice , with between 70 to 80 percent of our rice demands coming from other countries
like China and Thailand.
” Soon after the inception of the program in the first to second year, our rice production in Kebbi state had increased from 7000 metric tones to 4 million metric tones. The happy story is more and more production.”
The Anchor Borrowers loan Program,according to the Chairman, targeted 77,000 farmers who were mostly small scale farmers, with inputs and cash, as well as an organised marketing system, so that a farmer who produced rice,
would not have problem selling it in a good price.
He commended Governor Bagudu for his untiring efforts in making sure that, agriculture was accorded top priority.
He further lauded President Muhammadu Buhari, for myriad of interventions to support farmers, in order for Nigeria to attain self sufficiency in rice production.
”When governor Bagudu came in 2015, he called us as an association, to find out the magnitude of problems bedeviling rice farming.
“We told him about the issues of inputs supply and other resources needed for rice production. He assured us he would do his best to address the issues.
“He went to Abuja and contacted Mr President and CBN governor, he even arranged for a meeting of all rice farmers’ associations, and consequently, the ABP loan was designed to provide farmers with inputs and the program was glaringly successful,” he said.
On the pyramids, Augie explained to the students that, the thirteen giant pyramids displayed in Zauro were an assemblage and aggregation of rice paddy collected from North Western states of Nigeria.
The gesture was to celebrate the five successive years of the launch of ABP, in Kebbi State and the sale of paddy rice to millers.
He explained that, the rice pyramids cumulatively consisted of 200,000 bags of paddy rice, assembled from fifty, thirty and twenty thousand bags of paddy rice .
The students happily asked questions and also expressed their delight with the efforts of Governor Bagudu led administration in boosting rice production
They also applauded President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic diversification agenda geared towards food security in Nigeria.