The Central Bank of Nigeria has disbursed a total of N106.39bn to rice farmers under the Paddy Aggregation Scheme. This was disclosed by the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, in statements from the Monetary Policy Committee.
He said, “Under the Paddy Aggregation Scheme, N6.2bn was disbursed by the Bank to three new projects for the purchase and mopping-up of home-grown rice paddy. This brings the total funds disbursed to 42 integrated rice millers under the PAS to N106.39bn.”
The PAS was designed for Integrated Rice Millers and Large Scale Aggregators to enable them purchase home-grown rice paddy at a single-digit interest rate to promote the Federal Government of Nigeria’s National Food Security Programme. It aims to provide credit facilities to integrated rice millers and large-scale rice paddy aggregators at a single-digit interest rate to increase local production of rice towards effecting lower prices and enhancing national food security. The features include: single digit interest rate at five per cent; bullet loan repayment after 12 months for loans that have 12 months tenor; no obligor limit applicable; applicant must have a functional silo; and it has 24 months loan tenor.
Emefiele had earlier urged rice mills in the country to embrace the bank’s backward integration initiative aimed at conserving foreign exchange reserves, revamping local production capacity and creating employment. At the inauguration of the Garewa Rice Mill in Kano, Kano State, earlier, he had said it was important for rice millers in Nigeria to get involved in paddy production to guarantee sustainable supply of paddy to their mills and also complement the supply from the smallholder farmers through the CBN’s partnership with the Rice Farmers Association and prime anchors.
He noted that the number of rice mills in Nigeria had grown from fewer than ten, with a combined capacity of less than 350,000 metric tons, prior to the launch of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme in 2015, to over 60 integrated rice mills, with a combined capacity of about three million metric tons as at January 2022, with about 10 more mills scheduled to be commissioned later this year.