Benue - Mohammad Alibaba of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Abuja on Thursday called on farmers in Benue to intensify efforts in the cultivation and production of rice.
Alibaba, who is the Programme Officer of the Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), made the call at a workshop in Makurdi.
He presented a paper entitled: ``Integrating Nigeria’s Agricultural and Financial Value Chains: The Role of NIRSAL’’ at the workshop organised by Nigeria Soybean Association, Benue Chapter in Makurdi.
NIRSAL is a public private initiative designed to appropriately define, price and share agricultural business related credit risk.
The programme officer said that, if the production of rice was stepped up in the country, there would be no need wasting money importing it.
``If farmers can produce enough rice in the country, the funds used for its importation would be channelled to other vital areas,’’ he said.
According to him, Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava, but only 11 per cent is being processed, while 20 to 30 per cent output are wasted.
He said that the unit would partner with the Benue State Government in order to enlighten farmers on how to derive maximum value for their products.
Alibaba encouraged farmers to diversify and expand the scope of their farms so as to enhance their income.
Earlier, Eugene Aliegba, the State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, said that the world’s economy was moving towards agriculture.
He added that it was only agriculture that could sustain the society.
Aliegba, who was represented by Mrs Dorothy Chianson, urged farmers to embrace all innovations in agriculture in order to meet the challenges of food security.
Mr Bem Agbanyi, the Chairman of the workshop organising committee advised farmers to take advantage of the workshop by paying attention to all discussions so as to improve on their farming skills.