The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in collaboration with Cross River State Government has formally flagged off the input distribution for 2018 wet season farming in the Niger Delta State and its environs.
The CBN governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, while performing the ceremony assured the over 12000 thousand farmers already enrolled under the auspices of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), of continuous support with a view to repositioning agriculture as a business venture for employment generation, wealth creation and self sufficiency in food production.
A statement from the bank said it was in furtherance to the bank’s resolve to make agriculture regain an enviable position as a business venture rather than mere subsistence,
Emefiele, who was represented by the central bank’s spokesman, Mr Isaac Okorafor, commended Cross River State government for its untiring efforts which had started yielding results in terms of awareness among the farmers and provision of quality seedlings.
He further noted that over four hundred thousand farmers had been supported under ABP to cultivate twelve crops like rice, soya, maize, palm produce, cotton cassava among others.
He advised genuine farmers to key into the technology – driven input distribution system with a view to benefiting from the low interest rate of nine per cent facility.
According to the CBN governor, the biometric capturing which identified farmers to specific farmland through mapping has eliminated the issue of ‘absentee’ or non-practising farmers from benefiting from the inputs and other facilities.
On the part of the beneficiaries of the inputs and other facilities under the bank’s intervention programmes, Emefiele urged them to take repayment terms seriously as that would go a long way in ensuring sustainability of the programmes.
In a remark at the ceremony, the state chairman of RIFAN, chief John Ettah, disclosed that provision of agriculture inputs has greatly encouraged farmers in the state. He noted that it was now possible to cultivate their farmlands all year round with ‘two wet’ and ‘one dry’ season farming.
He further hinted that rice farmers in the state had cultivated 20,000 hectares of farmland with an expected average yield of five metric tons per hectare.
Etta also assured farmers favourable market conditions for their produce as there were off-takers on standby to collect the produce from them at an agreed and reasonable price.
The Cross River State governor, Professor Ben Ayade , who was represented by the state commissioner for agriculture , Professor Egrinya Eneji, reiterated that agriculture remains the channel for sustainable development for Nigeria hence the state government was pragmatic in leveraging the value chain opportunities offered by sector. According the governor, various initiatives of the CBN had not only made agricultural practise simple, but very profitable.
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