The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Bayelsa Chapter, on Thursday started the distribution of farm inputs to 227 of its members on the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) meant to empower farmers in the country.
Mr Ezikiel Ogbianko, Chairman, of RIFAN, Bayelsa, gave the figure at the begining of the wet season farming in Yenagoa.
Ogbianko noted that the inputs included 1, 200 bags of NPK (rice blend, fertiliser); 64 cartons of pesticide (Force-up) of different products.
He, however, commended the Federal Government for initiating the ABP to support not only the RIFAN members, but all the farmers in the country.
“We have gathered here today for the distribution of CBN inputs to farmers, and to flag-off wet season farming in the state.
“We have acquired 5, 000 hectares of land across the eight local government areas in the state; we are done with the dry season, though, we are still waiting for the harvest.
“I urge the farmers not to be discouraged; work harder for us to achieve sufficient rice for the people in the state and the nation at large,” the chairman said.
Mr Ezombode Stanley, Principal Manager, CBN, Bayelsa Office, urged the farmers to make good use of the inputs and pledged to support them for a successful farming season.
Ezombode, represented by Mr Emelo Christian, an officer of the apex bank in the state, said that farming was important to the economic growth of the country.
“I urge you to continue to support the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme, and I believe that sufficient rice will be available not only in Bayelsa but Nigeria at large,” he said.
Responding on behalf of the beneficiaries, Mr Pere Eteku expressed the farmers’ gratitude for being part of the programme.
He said that the inputs would be utilised for the purpose for which they were meant.
The Programme, which was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) on Nov. 17, 2015, was intended to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in the processing and small holder farmers (SHFs) of the required key agricultural commodities.
The programme thrust of the ABP is provision of farm inputs in kind and cash(for farm labour) to small holder farmers to boost production
of these commodities, stabilise inputs supply to agro processors and address the country’s negative balance of payments on food.