Kebbi State governor, Atiku Bagudu has called for more funding for agricultural activities in the country, especially through the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) to boost rice production in the 36 states.
The governor made the call during a press briefing in the State yesterday, where he noted that the N54 billion disbursed for the ABP across the federation was insufficient, thus the need for the federal government to consider upward review of the loan.
Bagudu insisted that the N54 billion was very little compared to what’s allotted to develop other sectors such as banking as well as oil and gas sectors.
“Let me use this medium to call for greater lending to agriculture and better public support. For instance, NNPC indicated that fuel subsidy alone is about N180 billion,yet lending to agriculture to farmers across 36 states is just N54 billion,” he added.
While calling for massive investments in agriculture, he said, “countries that achieved food sufficiency spent decades supporting agriculture, subsidizing among other producer supports.”
The Governor, who acknowledged water as major challenge, said rice farmers cultivated on 400, 000 hectares of land.
He said cost of purchasing fuel increased to as high as N300 per litre, which according to him led the state government to partner with major fuel stations and the Kebbi State Assembly to subsidise the product.
In the same vein, Senator Bagudu said that plans have reached advanced stage with the federal government to revive the popular Argungu fishing festival.
The governor said the fishing festival was earlier suspended in the state due to Boko Haram insurgency.
e revealed that there are on-going moves to seek supports from both private and public sector to boost the tourism sector and make the festival an international affair.
“We always avoid the rainy season and there are lots of infrastructure decay and accommodation problem because of the suspension, so we want to upgrade them all. That’s what we are doing with the federal ministry of Information,” he said.