Yakubu Busari, Jos
Governor of CBN, GOdwin Emefiele
No fewer than 6,670, rice farmers in Plateau State have secured N5 billion loan under the Central Bank anchor borrower intervention scheme aimed at boosting food production and creating employment opportunity to the teaming unemployed youths in the country nation.
Secretary to the Plateau State chapter of the scheme Mr Dauda Aku in an interview disclosed that all farmers from 17 local Government Areas of Plateau state are among the shortlisted names of the beneficiaries.
According to him, the CBN had contracted agents to map the farm location before releasing the facilities to the farmers.
He told journalists in Jos during an sensitization programme that the anchor borrower programme, which operates under four pilots, namely, stakeholders farmers, participatory finance institution, the CBN, the Nigeria Insurance Agriculture Commission and service providers as observers, has captured farmers in the three geo political zones of the state.
The Coordinator of the scheme in the state, Mr Joshua confirmed the figure in a telephone interview saying about 6,000 farmers have secure the implementation of the programme in the state under the present anchor borrower program of the CBN.
He said: “Under the scheme, smallholder farmers are entitled to loans ranging from N150,000 to N250,000 to assist them in procuring necessary agricultural inputs such as seedlings, fertilizers and pesticides, to help boost agricultural outputs and productivity.”
Mr. Olatunde Akande, Special Adviser to the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, said out of the N55bn provided for the farmers, 80 per cent or N44bn was given to rice farmers alone.
He stated that the need to provide rice farmers with adequate funding was to ensure self-sufficiency in the production of the commodity and to also ensure that Nigeria becomes a net exporter of the product.
He said, “Out of the N55bn that we have spent on the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, about 80 per cent has gone into rice production; and if you work out that maths, you will see that the multiplier effect of that money has been so great to our average farmers in Plateau state.
“It also goes to underscore the effectiveness and efficiency that the CBN has put into this programme. We have about 250,000, who have also cultivated close to 300,000 hectares of farmland, and you can see the impact on the street.”
RIFAN president, Dauda Aku lamented the lack of cooperation from indigenous farmers who refuse to cooperate with the teams even though the agents are on ground to captured those with their Bank Verification Numbers and then their registration fees.
He explained further that trucks load of fertilizers containing 6,000 bags per truck were allocated to rice farmers for the 2019 farming season with 11 trucks for Northern zone, 8 trucks for central zone and 17 trucks for Southern part.
Items given out to rice farmers include water pumping generators, herbicides, pesticides and pre emergency with 3,000 machines ready for disbursement.
The CBN under the programme had set aside N40bn out of the N220bn Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund to be given to farmers at a single, digit interest rate of nine per cent per annum.