By Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano
Kano State Government on Thursday in Kano formally launched the state/CBN Anchor Borrowers Scheme in its efforts to diversify agricultural production for food security, job creation and economic diversification.
The state Deputy Governor, Professor Hafiz Abubakar, who represented Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje at the event, explained that the scheme was in line with the federal government’s resolve to seek non-oil sources of revenue, in the light of the dwindling price of crude oil.
The Anchor Borrowers Scheme was conceived out of the CBN’s resolve to achieve a strong and viable agricultural base with more integrated value chains, enhanced food security, fewer imports and higher productivity.
The programme was also put in place to help local farmers increase production and supply of feedstock to processors, reduce importation and conserve foreign exchange.
Pointing out that it will launch the country from an oil-based to agro-inclined economy, the Deputy Governor called on farmers to embrace the scheme, introduced by the federal government in its economic diversification drive.
Hafiz, who described the scheme as innovative in the country urged the farmers to ensure they use the loan strictly for the purpose for which it was meant.
Representative of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Alhaji Abdulkadir Ahmad, said the scheme aims at creating economic linkages between smallholder farmers and reputable large-scale processors with a view to increasing agricultural output and significantly improving capacity utilisation of integrated mills.
He explained that the scheme intends to among others, provide Rice farmers, with one to five hectares of land, water pumps and fertilizer.
He said the CBN would open accounts with names of the respective farmers, who have expressed interest to participate in the scheme, as well as collate information on their requirements, so as to procure it from the companies participating in the scheme.
To this end, he said that part of the money would be made available to the farmers for the-day-to day running of their farms.
Furthermore, he said that the scheme involves extension workers, who will educate the farmers on the best practices for their plants, as well as those, who will buy their produce of which the CBN will deduct nine per cent of the profit and handover the rest to the farmers.
”An agreement will be entered into between Central Bank of Nigeria and the Rice farmers, so as to prevent future breach of trust,” he said.
In his remarks, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Alhaji Nasir Gawuna, highlighted the significance of the scheme, as well as the necessity to work hard to achieve the set objectives.