Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has joined Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Plc, and a host of dignitaries including two state governors to commission a 400 metric tons per day mega rice mill in Kano state constructed by Gerawa Group of Companies.
Speaking at the commissioning of the mill and the foundation laying of additional 560 metric tons rice mill, the CBN Governor stated that before 2015 Nigeria had less than 10 functional integrated rice mills with a combined capacity less than 350,000 metric tons, but with the coming of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, the statistic has grown to over 60 integrated mills with a combined capacity of over 3 million metric tons.
The CBN governor added that there are about 10 new integrated mills scheduled to be commissioned this year emphasising that the growing number of integrated mills have been complemented by hundreds of small-scale mills located across the states of the federation in an effort towards boosting the nation’s food security.
He explained that the private sector investment that has been unlocked in the establishment of these rice mills are testimony of the conducive environment created in the rice value chain through the CBN-led initiatives and stakeholders’ cooperation.
Commenting on Fidelity Bank ’s support for the project, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, its Managing Director/CEO, who was represented at the event by Hassan Imam, the Bank’s Executive Director, Northern Businesses, said, “At Fidelity Bank, we are known for facilitating transactions such as this where the impact is phenomenal and often on a national scale. We are pleased to be associated with this project because of its potential to not only improve the lives of many small-holder farmers in Jigawa, Kano and environs but to also develop the country’s rice value chain and ensure food security.”
Shedding light on the bank’s interventions in the rice space, Mrs. Onyeali-Ikpe disclosed that the bank has facilitated the disbursement of over N34 billion in direct credit to players in the value chain.
“Our interventions have helped to unlock financing opportunities for many paddy rice farmers with significant contribution to the expansion of national paddy rice output. This has created a positive ripple effect in the rural communities by way of farmer empowerment and employment generation. This is also in alignment with the business sustainability drive of our business,” she explained.
The chief host at the well-attended event and Chairman, Gerawa Group of Companies, Alhaji Isa Muhammed Gerawa stated that the establishment of the rice mill was a testimony of the efficacy of the federal government’s agricultural development policies in encouraging farming and other related activities with support from the CBN. He added that the intended 560 metric tons capacity rice mill will be completed in November 2022.
The occasion was graced by the Executive Governors of Jigawa State, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar and of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu; captains of industries and heads of corporate organizations.