The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) have begun a collaboration to aggregate maize under the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) of the federal government for the 2021 wet season.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the maize farmers also inaugurated the 2021/2022 dry season farming in Dadin-Kowa community of Yamaltu/Deba Local Government Area of Gombe State on Tuesday.
The team then proceeded to Pindiga community in Akko Local Government Area of Gombe State where the loan repayment ceremony was launched.
Mr. Abdullahi Baba-Isa, head, CBN’s Development and Finance Office, said the federal government’s intervention in maize farming had yielded impressive results.
Baba-Isa stated that CBN’s intervention was to harness Nigeria’s potential in the agriculture sector, conserve foreign exchange, boost food availability, reduce unemployment amongst youths while discouraging food importation.
He stated that in Gombe State over 4,000 hectares were cultivated under the ABP for wet season farming and, “we expect about six or seven bags per hectare.”
The apex bank’s official said he was impressed with the rate of recovery in Pindiga cluster as 600 out of the 720 expected bags had been recovered.
Baba-Isa, therefore, urged other farmers to emulate the Pindiga gesture.
Earlier, during the team’s visit to Dadin-Kowa community for the inauguration of the 2021/2022 dry season farming, the president of the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN), Dr Bello Abubakar, commended the federal government.
Abubakar said the event was a prove of the federal government’s investment in the agriculture sector and towards promoting all-year-round farming to boost food security in the country.
According to him, over 2, 000 maize farmers are benefitting from the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme in Gombe State.
He stated that with the intervention of CBN in the agriculture sector from 2015, maize production had recorded a boost in the country.
“As at 2015, our annual maize production was eight million tonnes but in 2020, we recorded 20 million tonnes, that’s an increase of 12 million tonnes.
“This is impressive as far as MAAN is concerned,” he said.
According to the MAAN president, Nigeria is now maize-sufficient with the intervention of the federal government to support farmers across the country.
“This is why during the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic from 2019 to 2020 when the world shot their borders, we were able to feed ourselves,” said Abubakar.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for supporting farmers in the country through this “laudable” initiative and also to the CBN governor, Dr. Godwin Emefiele, “our friend, we say thank you.”
Abubakar stated he expected 100 per cent recovery in Gombe State, adding that maize farmers in the country were responding positively to loan repayment.
He advised his members to understand that the intervention from the apex bank was neither a grant nor subsidy but a loan that must be repaid to enable government engage more farmers going forward.
On his part, MAAN’s special coordinator, Gombe State chapter, Alhaji Adamu Tukur, commended the federal government for early distribution of inputs for wet season farming in the state.
Tukur stated that the early inputs distribution ensured that farmers in the state prepared adequately and it also showed that the federal government was listening to the demands of farmers in that regard.
NAN reports that the Anchor Borrowers Scheme is an initiative of the CBN through which it disburses money to various commercial banks across the country for farmers to access as loans. (NAN)