Rice farmers in Bayelsa have applauded the Federal Government for its agricultural development initiatives, especially the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme ( ABP ).
Mr Eziekiel Ogbianko, Chairman of the state chapter of the Rice Farmers Association in Nigeria ( RIFAN ), made the commendation in an interview with the News men on Monday in Yenagoa on Monday.
Ogbianko said that ABP had provided opportunities for many farmers in Bayelsa to access farm inputs easily.
He expressed optimism that, with ABP in Bayelsa, there would be increase in farm produce, especially rice.
“The ABP has come to stay as a life-saving programme for farmers.
“Many of our members are benefiting immensely, and we hope to work hard to support the FG’s efforts in ensuring food sufficiency,’’ he said.
The News men reports that more than 500 rice farmers in Bayelsa, on April 5, received various farm inputs in the first phase of the ABP.
The inputs distributed to the farmers included 120,000 bags of fertiliser, 400 cans of herbicides and 500 sprayer machines.
Oghianko noted that the Central Bank of Nigeria flagged-off distribution of the items under the first phase of the 2018 ABP for dry-season farming.
He also noted that ABP was aimed at promoting mass production of rice through a revolving loan to empower millions of farmers.
“Right now in the state, we have over 4,000 farmers working on 20,000 hectares of land cleared for the dry season rice farming.
“The farm sites are located at Ondewari and Okpotuwari communities in Southern-Ijaw Local Government Area.’’
Mr John Owei, a rice farmer, also hailed the programme in the state, promising that farmers would continue to support the government’s efforts to achieve food security.
“The ABP scheme has created wealthy farmers across the country,” Owei said.
A female rice farmer, Mrs Caroline Ebipadie, said that she received fertiliser, a sprayer machine and 10 litres of herbicides.
Ebipadie told the News men that in spite of some constraints, the programme had given participants a new lease of life.
She added that the ripple effects of ABP provided job opportunities.