Five thousand and sixteen maize farmers in Plateau have benefitted from the Anchor Borrower Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the 2020 wet season farming.
Mrs Helen Temtsen, Head, Development and Finance Office of the Jos Branch of CBN, disclosed this at the launching of the distribution of the inputs to the beneficiaries on Monday in Mangu.
According to Temtsen, the programme which began three years ago in the state, had 339 beneficiaries in 2018 and 3, 396 in 2019.
She explained that the programme was aimed at improving local production and discouraging importation at minimal interest rate.
She said that for the 2020 edition, the programme would attract five per cent interest rate against the usual nine per cent, due to the outbreak of Coronavirus (Covid-19).
“When this programme began in Plateau in 2018, 339 farmers maize farmers benefitted.
“In 2019, 3, 386 farmers benefited. For this year’s wet season, 5, 16 farmers will benefit.
“In general, we have supported 18, 140 farmers in the state to improve the production of rice, maize, cotton and sorghum
“For this year, the interest has gone down from nine per cent to five per cent becuase of Covid-19,” she said.
Speaking at the event, Mr Yusuf Duniya, the Branch Controller of CBN in Jos, warned the beneficiaries against diversion, saying anyone caught selling the inputs in the market would be delisted.
Duniya also advised the farmers to ensure timely repayment of the loan, insisting that the intervention isn’t a grant but a loan with six months duration.
“Government through the CBN has introduced this programme basically to curtail importation and improve local production.
“It was also introduced so as to enable huge production of raw materials that will serve our industries and make them functional.
“That way, our import rate will decrease and resources saved will be channeled into developing other sectors of the economy.
“This is a loan and not a grant. So, I urge you to pay back as at when due. Don’t sell the inputs, but use them judiciously because we are expecting the proceeds from you after harvest,” he advised.
In an address of welcome, Mr Dakat Mbai, Chairman of Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) in the state, thanked CBN and government for the gesture.
Mbai assured that the leadership of the association would ensure that the beneficiaries put the inputs to good use.
He promised that the association would ensure that the beneficiaries repayed the loan as at when due.
He, however, called for timely distribution of the inputs, lamenting that the inputs usually got to the farmers when the rainy season was almost over.
“Inputs distribution most times comes late, yet farmers are expected to pay back the loan despite the lateness.
“So, we want to appeal that inputs should get to farmers early enough to enable rich harvest,” he appealed.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that inputs distributed include: seeds, fertilisers, herbicides, insecticides and sprayers.
Edited By: Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)
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