The Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, Tuesday led hundreds of farmers in the state to launch a pyramid of rice in Maiduguri, the state capital.
The thousands of bags that was piled into a pyramid at the city’s civic centre, Ramat Square, was a demonstration of the bumper harvest recorded in parts of the state during the last farming season by farmers who are mostly assisted by government.
The pyramid was realised under the federal government assisted Borno Anchor Borrowers Programme, through the (CBN) Anchor Borrowers scheme.
The scheme is aimed at scaling up the local production of rice in order to reduce over-dependence on foreign import of the staple food.
Organisers of the rice pyramid programme, Wal Wanne and Sons Ltd, said about 18,000 farmers were engaged in the scheme.
The local formers in the safe zones like Jere, Konduga, Mafa, Biu, Hawul and Shani local government areas of the state took part in the scheme during the last wet season during which government availed them with farm inputs and tool.
The organisers said at the maturity of the crops, they bought up all the produce at what they called Guaranteed Market Price (GMP) and deducted the cost of producing the rice per hectre, from the total amount, “and any excess money after the deduction is considered as profit to the farmer”.
Mr Shettima launched the pyramid amidst large a turnout of over 1000 local farmers who staged a parade displaying their implements and products.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the Armed Forces of Nigeria for providing security in Borno State, without which he said the Anchor Borrowers Scheme would not have been possible.
Mr Shettima said the state government had invested billions of naira in the procurement of agro-allied equipment in order to advance his agricultural revolution initiative across the entire state. He said the successes recorded in the six safe local government areas was just a sign that the state still retains its potential of feeding a significant portion of the country when peace finally returns.
Borno farmers were unable to till their farmlands for about five years following displacement by Boko Haram. Many farmers lost their farm products as Boko Haram attacked them at the peak of harvest.
Hundreds of farmers have lost their lives while tilling the bush while others are still being killed around Maiduguri.