Post by Ismail AbdulAzeez on Sept 9, 2020 13:18:20 GMT 1
About 535 maize farmers in Anambra would receive farm inputs worth over N89 million under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrower’s Programme (ABP). Some of the inputs include improved maize seedlings, NPK and organic fertilisers, urea, micronutrients, knapsack sprayer and insecticides.
Anambra State Chairman of the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN), Simeon Okafor, explained that the support will enable farmers to plant for the 2020 wet season that has just begun. Okafor, who pointed out that the number of beneficiaries of the support rose from 122 in 2019 to the current figure, further disclosed that the farmers would also enjoy logistic support.
He said the support would cover areas such as land preparation, farm mapping, ploughing, extension services, among others.
The state chairman explained that farmers in the state had hitherto been reluctant to give out their Biometric Verification Number (BVN), a prerequisite for registration. He, however, added that adequate sensitization by the association had convinced the farmers, hence the increase in the number of beneficiaries.
The chairman, therefore, called on the government to ensure the timely release of the inputs to the state. Meanwhile, the Head of the CBN Development Finance Office, Awka Branch, Bridget Okparaeze, has said that MAAN’s participation this year is the association’s second since the ABP was launched in 2015.
Okparaeze expressed delight in the number of increased participants, adding that it was a step towards achieving food sufficiency.
“This is in line with the food security initiative of the Federal Government of promoting the ‘Grow What We Eat and Eat What We Grow’ slogan.
“The Federal Government in collaboration with the CBN will continue to support farmers with relevant farm inputs to ensure food security in the country.” She said.
The branch head further explained that the scheme is a loan facility in the form of farm inputs distribution and a cash component and that all beneficiaries are, therefore, expected to repay the loan through their farm outputs.
The CBN official also urged the leadership of MAAN and other key players to enforce the implementation of the programme from planting to evacuation stages.
“Farmers that divert their farm inputs or side-sell their produce will be blacklisted outrightly and banned from further participating in any CBN intervention programmes,” she warned.
“All our interventions previously at nine per cent interest rate are now given at five per cent interest rate for this year because of COVID-19. Therefore, all farmers participating in this programme are expected to repay the loan granted to them with their produce”, Okaparaeze added.