The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), through its Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), in collaboration with the Cross River State Government, has formally flagged off inputs distribution for the 2018 wet farming in Cross River State.
A statement from the CBN quoted the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, while performing the ceremony, to have assured the over 12,000 farmers enrolled under the auspices of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) of continuous support with a view to repositioning agriculture both as business, wealth creation and self-sufficiency in food production.
It said Mr. Emefiele, who was represented by the apex bank’s spokesman, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, commended thje Cross River State Government for its untiring effort which has started yielding results in terms of awareness among the farmers, provision of quality seedlings and mechanisation of agriculture.
The statement noted that over 400,000 farmers had been supported under the ABP to cultivate 12 varieties of crops like rice, soya, maize, palm produce, cotton and cassava.
Emefiele 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.
He also said the biometric capturing which identified farmers to specific farmlands through mapping had eliminated the issue of “absentee” or non-practising farmers from benefiting from the inputs and other facilities.
In a remark at the ceremony, the state Chairman of RIFAN, Chief John Ettah disclosed that provision of agricultural inputs had greatly encouraged farmers in the state.
Chief Ettah said it was now possible for them 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 tonnes per hectare.
The Nigeria Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC), represented by Mrs. Eno Ekpo, assured the farmers of total support and urged them not to hesitate in approaching the corporation for professional advice.