Nigeria’s central government says it has disbursed about N44 billion, about $122 million, to 300,000 rice farmers across the country in efforts to raise annual rice output by an additional two million tonnes this year, Aisha Al-Hassan, the minister of women affairs and social development has said.
The minister who spoke at the ongoing 62nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York, said the government’s Transformation Agenda was aimed at strengthening the agricultural value chain, eliminating hunger, facilitating food and nutritional security while creating jobs for millions of farmers.
Al-Hassan said: “The current Anchor Borrowers Programme of the Federal Government has released over 122 million dollars to farmers through 13 participating institutions, which is to spur the production of additional two million tonnes of rice in 2018 by 300,000 Rice Farmers, majority of whom are women in rural areas,” Al-Hassan said as she spoke on the theme: “Achieving Economic Empowerment: Addressing Women Peace and Security Issues as a Pathway for Socioeconomic Independence for Rural Women in Nigeria.”
The Home Grown School Feeding programme, a part of the Social Investment Programme, which was designed to provide once-a-day nutritious meal to 5.5 million school-age children, including girls in classes one to three in public primary schools across the country had been successful, according to the minister.
“By December 2017, over six million pupils are being fed daily nationwide. The programme has trickled down financial incentives to local farmers and cooks, who are mostly women,” she said.
On the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme and the National Women Empowerment Fund, both under the government’s Social Investment Programme, she said they were designed to provide 1.66 million dollars micro credit lending to businesses.