By Salihu Tanko Yakasai
Kano (Nigeria) – About 10, 000 rice farmers in Kano state, North-west Nigeria are to benefit from the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) initiated Rice Anchor Borrowers Programme, under the first phase, during the current wet season in Kano state.
Already, the first batch of 5, 540 beneficiaries have been cleared for participation in the program while the rest are awaiting clearance from the apex bank to enable them participate.
Disclosing this during the flag-off of the programme at Bunkure Cattle Ranch in Bunkure local government area, the state governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje explained that more farmers would be involved in the programme during the year’s dry season and subsequent rainy seasons.
It is envisaged that thousands of rice farmers in the state would take advantage of the programme, aimed at creating profitable linkages between over 600, 000 small holder farmers and large scale processors in Nigeria, with a view to increasing agricultural production and extensively improving capacity utilization of integrated mills.
Stressing the implication of dwindling price of oil in global markets to Nigeria’s economy, the governor maintained the Buhari administration accords top priority to agricultural production, as one of the viable sources of revenue generation, job creation and ensuring food sufficiency for its teeming populace.
In this connection, he stated that his administration “is committed to revitalizing agriculture and with particular emphasis on the rice value chain in addition to wheat, dairy, meat and tomato”, in view of Kano’s huge water and arable land resources.
Governor Ganduje maintained that ahead of the launch, the state technical committee on the Rice Anchor Borrowers Programme had conducted among other things registration of beneficiaries, farm inspections as well as training on best agronomic practices and crop protection techniques to ensure maximum success.
“As you are aware, the programme is on loan basis not grant hence you should make sure that you make prompt repayment and based on the terms of agreement entered with you”, the governor charged the farmers.
The Director, Development Finance Department of the CBN, Dr. M. A Olaitan, represented by Umar Abubakar Ambursa stated that the programme was designed, among other things, to close the gap between local rice production and domestic consumption, urging rice and wheat farmers to take advantage of the development to improve their lot.
“If you utilize the loan by farming diligently, it will help you, our farmers, to grow from being subsistent to commercial farmers”, assuring that steps have been taken to ensure that the loans are not fraudulently manipulated.
Salihu Tanko Yakasai
Director – General, Media and Communications,
Government House, Kano