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Rice Production: Association Compiles List Of Members For Bank Loan

As part of effort to boost rice production in Niger, the Agricultural Graduates Association of Nigeria (AGAN) on Tuesday said it had started collecting names of its members interested in collecting bank loans for rice production.
“We have started collecting list of members who have access to at least one hectare of land,’’ Alhaji Hussaini Iliyasu, the Chairman of the association in the state, disclosed this to journalists in Bida.
Iliyasu said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had agreed to guarantee a N1.8 billion loan from commercial banks for the farmers under the Federal Government Rice Support Programme.
“We are currently working with some commercial banks towards accessing the loan for our activities. We have reached 80 per cent success with the banks.
“The loan will be used to finance `rice value chain investment project’ for the association’s 5,000 members to produce more than 50,000 tonnes of rice.
“We will also engage 100 private extension workers, generate 20,000 direct jobs as well as encourage interest among other stakeholders in the rice value chain,’’ he said.
Iliyasu said the programme would be managed by farmers’ cooperatives in eight rice producing local government areas in the state.
Iliyasu lamented that rice farmers in the state were selling the produce at a low price compared to the investment made.
“We now sell 100kg bag at N4, 500 and sometimes lower, depending on the variety. We get customers coming from across the country,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Maji Alhassan of the National Cereal Research Institute, Badeggi, has called for farmer education to boost production of the commodity.
“Farmers will improve with better production knowledge, resources and ready market.
He said most of the local government areas in the state produced rice in commercial quantity. (NAN)

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