By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi.
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that its Anchor Borrowers Program (ABP) targeted 30,000 farmers in Bauchi state aimed at lifting small farmers out of poverty and generate more jobs in the state.
CBN Deputy Director Development Finances, Masa’ud Ibrahim Tulu said at stakeholders meeting held in Bauchi Wednesday that 10, 000 of the targeted 30, 000 farmers of the scheme have already registered and opened accounts with five banks of FCMB, UBA, Sterling, Jaiz and BOI.
The Deputy Director said, “We are going out to screen those registered farmers, plots and train the extension workers to make up with the agricultural technology and the structures of the Scheme”.
He explained that the essence of the program is to diversify the economic system huge sums being spent by Nigeria on the importation of food items that could be produced locally, stressing that the N1 trillion importation bill was not sustainable.
Tulu emphasized the implication of falling oil prices to Nigeria’s foreign reserve, said the situation underscored the need for Nigeria and Nigerians to diversify the productive and revenue base of the country’s economy and conserve her foreign reserve by curbing the appetite for imported goods that can easily be produced locally.
He said that CBN has to shift from concentrating only on price, monetary, and financial system stability to act as a financial catalyst in specific sectors of the economy particularly agriculture, in an effort to create jobs on a mass scale, improve local food production, and conserve scarce foreign reserves.
Bauchi State Lead Consultant of the ABP, Dr. Nura Abdulmalik had said that Bauchi state mobilized and sensitized all the farmers on bank account opening, and well trained the extension workers that are responsible for training of the farmers.
Dr. Nura Abdulmalik stressed the need for state government to coordinate the structures of the scheme made up of Anchors, farmers, and the up takers.
Abdulmalik assured that the government has agreed to service the interest of the banks looking at the conservative nature of the people in the state, adding “9% interest will be upset by the state government to allow the farmers get free from interest that almost scare them from obtaining the loan.”
Also speaking, the Programme Manager of the Bauchi State Agriculture and Development Program (BADP), Aliyu Iliyasu Gital commended the Initiative of the Federal Government by introducing the scheme that alleviates poverty in the country.
He explained that BADP will provide the technical backup of the program by providing trained staff to train farmers, identification of plots, educates farmers on the new improve Agricultural Technology to obtain the optimum yield required in the dry and rainy season farming.
By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi.