By AbdulSalam Muhammad
Following Kano State government’s renewed interest in agriculture, rice produced by farmers in the state rose from 692, 481 tonnes in 2015 to 1, 551, 720 tonnes in 2016.
Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, who stated this during an Interactive Session on loan recovery with Farmers on the Central Bank of Nigeria/Bank of Agriculture/Kano state Rice’s Anchor – Borrowers Programme, said that the increase reflected an increase of about 95.2 percent.
Ganduje said the anchor borrower programme had achieved its objective in the state, as it had helped to shoot up rice production by 96 per cent in 2016 when compared to the 2015 output.
According to him, wheat production also recorded 84 per cent increase during the period.
He revealed that the bumper harvest recorded last year in Kano showed a significant increase in the production of other commodities like maize, millet, groundnut and cow peas, noting that with the government’s commitment, barring unanticipated developments, the output would be multiplied this year.
Commenting on the challenges to the farmers’ productivity, the governor said: “I have noticed that there are two major issues in Anchor-Borrower Programme. Farmers are complaining that they are not getting the assistance at the time they need it, and that constituted a major problem. Secondly, those who are involved in the scheme (CBN and BOA) are complaining that farmers are not paying back what has been given to them”.
The Governor, therefore, promised that these issues as well as that of availability of inputs would be addressed, between the government and the banks involved, to ensure that farmers get appropriate assistance and other required intervention duly.
Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje urged the over 5,000 beneficiaries of the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ agricultural loan in the state to pay up. He said that the loan was not free and all the beneficiaries must pay back to enable others benefit.
The governor reminded them that “an individual farmer or group may repay the loan in cash or with bags of rice.”
Earlier, a representative of the CBN, AbdulKadir Ahmad, said N960 million was allocated to Kano farmers and each benefitted with N367, 000. Chairman of the state Anchor Borrower Recovery Team, Prof. Mahmud Daneji said that some of the 5, 540 farmers who benefited from the programme had started paying back. The Commissioner for Agriculture, Yusuf Gawuna disclosed that the state government had assisted wheat farmers with N150 million to procure seeds in 2016, and some amounts were recovered from the beneficiaries.
Some of the farmers that spoke at the session expressed satisfaction with the programme, but suggested that the loan should not be released late as was done in 2016.
They also complained of difficulty in accessing fertiliser.