By Nse Anthony-Uko
ABUJA, (Sundiata Post) –The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has so far disbursed about N33 billion to farmers in 21 states under the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) with Kebbi, Cross River, Kano, Jigawa and Anambra, Ogun, Niger, Benue, and Kaduna states taking the lead.
The CBN also appealed to State Governors to key into the programme to help boost food security, conserve foreign exchange, tackle poverty and unemployment in the country.
Spokesman of CBN Mr. Isaac Okorafor over the weekend that the active participation of all the state governments will fast track the economic recovery program of the government and help improve the standard of living of the Nigerian farmer.
“We are impressed with the examples of Lagos and Kebbi. This is a case where the governors of the states took personal interests in the collaborative efforts that produced what we know as Lake Rice. That is why we recorded tremendous success in Kebbi. So, for the CBN ABP to work successfully, the state governors must cooperate with the CBN. The personal commitment of the governor of Kebbi was extra-ordinary,” Okorafor said.
He challenged farmers across the country to as a matter of necessity “organize themselves into strong and disciplined cooperatives,” to be able to successfully benefit from the CBN scheme for guaranteed food security for the nation.
Our correspondent gathered that the investment has yielded an output of 2.1 million metric tons of rice and over 450,000 metric tons of wheat in addition to provision of over one million direct and indirect rural jobs with the significant improvements in fish, tomatoes, shogun, cassava and maize yields.
Okorafor said the “thrust of the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme is to ensure food security, encourage import substitution, increase the income of farmers, fight poverty and conserve foreign exchange for the country”.
Nigeria’s rice need according to our correspondent’s investigation is slightly over six million metric tons with the nation’s earlier production put at a little over 2 million tons but with the coming of the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme to farmers, the national output is ranging at over 4 million tons, while the yield per hectare has increased from less than 2 tons per hectare to 6.5 to 7 tons per hectare.
“With the improvements we have recorded under this program, we project that by 2018, Nigeria should be able to meet its rice needs”, he said adding that the “good thing about this program is that no political farmer has access to it. All participants are geo-physically enumerated. every farmer must have at least a hectare of farmland that must be identifiable on satellite with his or her complete identity through the Bank Verification Number (BVN)”.