JOHANNESBURG - An investigation carried out by Nigeria’s Premium Times has found that the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) failed in its quest to make the country self-sufficient in rice production.
The Times reported on Monday that a joint investigation with Buharimeter into rice production in five states; Lagos, Ekiti, Kebbi, Kaduna and Ebonyi and in neighbouring Benin Republic found that the government’s flagship Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, which was touted as Nigeria’s answer to self sufficiency, had failed in most places.
It said the government was unable to recoup a large chunk of the N55 billion loan (nearly R2 billion) already disbursed.
Angry farmers claim the programme has been hijacked by local politicians who disburse funds to fake producers and has become a means of rewarding political patronage.
Attempts by the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria to salvage the programme have stalled while complaints concerning expired herbicides, bad seeds and funding shortages threaten to further derail it.
APC boasted in March that agriculture was the core of Abuja’s economic policy, and President Muhammadu Buhari said he would invest heavily in the sector as a means of creating jobs in the hinterlands while also putting money into the local telecommunication infrastructure.
- African News Agency (ANA)