BY DAVID ADUGE-ANI
About 9,000 farmers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have so far been registered to participate and benefit in the CBN Anchor Borrowers programme.
In an interview with newsmen, the acting secretary, FCT Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat (ARDS), Dr Musa A. Aliyu said that 16 village extension agents and 800 farmers from the area councils have been trained and will be issued certificates on the day of formal launching in the FCT.
Aliyu explained that the Anchor Borrowers programme was targeted at small holder farmers who are into crops like rice and soya beans production, where FCT enjoys comparative advantage.
According to him,“In line with the mandate of this sub sector in driving programmes in the agricultural sector, the FCT Agricultural Development Project continued to provide innovative advisory services on global agricultural best fit technologies to about 200,000 farming families.
The achievements so far include: The average yield of rice increased from 2.0 metric tons/hectare to 3.5 metric tons per hectare; cassava witnessed upward review from 16 metric tons/hectare to 20 metric tons/hectare.”
The acting secretary said that the FCT administration has also strengthened the capacity of 2000 farmers associations by way of training and linkage to agricultural finance.
“The FCT ADP continued to collaborate with the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Competitive Africa Rice Imitative, British America Tobacco Nigeria Foundation, United States Agency for International Development, Food and Agricultural Organization, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Central Bank of Nigeria, Notore Fertilizer Company, National Association of Nigeria Traders etc.”
Aliyu also stated that pest management control has helped to curtail the spread of the tomato pest, otherwise referred to as “Tuta Absoluta” which affected to farmers in 2016.
On the release of counterpart funding for the World Bank/Fadama III additional financing programme, he disclosed that FCT minister had approved the release of the counterpart funding for the commencement of the World Bank-assisted Fadama III Additional Financing project, adding that already, about 200 farmer groups have been registered to benefit from the project.