No fewer than 35, 000 registered rice farmers in Kano State will benefit from the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) anchor borrower programme.
Alhaji Abubakar Aliyu, the state Chairman of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), made the disclosure in an interview with newsmen in Kano on Tuesday.
The CBN anchor borrower programme was introduced by the Federal Government as part of renewed effort to boost rice and wheat production in the country.
The CBN earmarked N40 billion from the N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund for farmers in 12 states participating in the programme at a single-digit interest rate of 9 percent. Aliyu said the 35,000 fell short of the 100,000 farmers initially targeted for the programme in the state.
“One of the prerequisites for obtaining the loan is that one must register with the association.
“Secondly, one must open an account with one of the commercial banks and most of the farmers especially local ones have no account with any bank.
“So, these are some of the challenges which prevented many farmers from getting the registration,” he said. Aliyu said out of the 35, 000 farmers that had so far scaled through the CBN’s hurdles, 30 percent were women, 40 percent were youths, while the remaining 30 percent were elderly persons.
According to him, under the programme, each farmer is expected to receive seeds, fertilisers, chemicals and water pump which represent a total package of N220, 855. He said that after paying for the inputs, the balance of the money would be given to each farmer to enable him or her pay for the labour.
Aliyu said that each farmer was also expected to cultivate one hectare and repay the loan after harvesting the commodity. The chairman added that farmers were also expected to receive training from extension workers on modern techniques of rice production.
He said a technical committee on the programme had been constituted with a view to ensuring effective implementation of the programme in the state. He said the committee, which comprised farmers, agro-chemical dealers, state government and CBN officials, had already swung into action to ensure the success of the programme. He said the association had purchased six computer sets and scanners to speed up the registration process.