In efforts to boost rice production, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), through the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), in collaboration with the Gombe State Government, has embarked on sensitisation of farmers on dry season farming.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that officials of the CBN, the Commissioner of Agricultural and Animal Resources, Alhaji Mohammed Magaji, engaged the rice farmers in an interactive session on Monday in Gombe.
The meeting is to educate farmers on the guidelines for the acquisition, provision and repayment of the Anchor Borrower loans for dry season farming in the state.
Mr Adamu Tauhid, a Manager from the Development Finance Office, CBN, said the essence of the interaction was to give the necessary details to farmers about the ABP, ahead of the 2020 dry season farming.
Tauhid stated that the essence of the ABP by the Federal Government was to assist smallholder farmers while boosting food security in the country.
“Since the inception of the ABP in 2015, it has reduced agricultural importation of what we produce, especially rice and other crops under the scheme,’’ he noted.
While urging the farmers not to divert or sell inputs that would be given to them, the CBN official said the loan, which will be given at nine per cent interest, would consist of inputs and cash.
Alhaji Mohammed Magaji, the Gombe Commissioner of Agriculture and Animal Resources said about 1, 500 rice farmers that had been screened, were expected to benefit from the ABP dry season farming.
Magaji stated that the essence of the meeting was to determine the per hectare budget with the farmers.
“We are discussing with farmers to ensure that we address issues relating to repayment because the loan is not a gift, but assistance from the Federal Government to eradicate poverty and create wealth in rural areas.’’
He commended both the state and federal governments for the efforts to enhance rice production and boost food security; as well as ensure economic prosperity for Gombe State and the country at large.
NAN also reports that farmers were given the opportunity to determine the per hectare budget through the question and answers session that was featured at the meeting.