The FCT Administration has said that about 9,000 farmers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have so far been registered to participate in the CBNâ€™s Anchor Borrowers programme.
The acting Secretary, FCT Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Dr. Musa A. Aliyu who made this disclosure during a press briefing on the activities of the Agric Secretariat in the last two years, said 16 Village Extension Agents and 800 farmers from the Area Councils have been trained and will be issued certificates on the day of formal launching in the FCT.
The Anchor Borrowers programme he explained was targeted at small holder farmers who are into crops where FCT enjoys comparative advantage like rice and soya beans production.
He said: â€œIn line with the mandate of this sub-sector in driving programmes in the agricultural sector, the FCT Agricultural Development Project continued to provide innovative advisory services on global agricultural best fit technologies to about 200,000 farming families. The achievements so far include: The average yield of rice increased from 2.0 metric tons/hectare to 3.5 metric tons per hectare; cassava witnessed upward review from 16 metric tons/hectare to 20 metric tons/hectare.â€
Aliyu said the FCT Administration has also strengthened the capacity of 2,000 farmers associations by way of training and linkage to agricultural finance.
He said: â€œThe FCT ADP continued to collaborate with the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Competitive Africa Rice Imitative, British America Tobacco Nigeria Foundation, United States Agency for International Development, Food and Agricultural Organisation, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Central Bank of Nigeria, Notore Fertilizer Company, National Association of Nigeria Traders etc.â€
The Secretary also stated that pest management control has helped to curtail the spread of the tomato pest otherwise referred to as â€œTuta Absolutaâ€ which affected farmers in 2016.
On the release of counterpart funding for the World Bank/Fadama III additional financing programme, Aliyu disclosed that the FCT Minister, approved the release of the counterpart funding for the commencement of the World Bank-assisted Fadama III Additional Financing project. Already, about 200 farmer groups have been registered to benefit from the project, he said.
According to him, â€œThe success recorded during the implementation of the project, informed the decision of government to seek its extension of the project period to December 2017, with an additional financing of $200 million which is hinged on ramping up production and development of the value chains for four selected staple crops which are Rice, Sorghum, Cassava and Horticulture (tomato).â€
â€œThird National Fadama Development Project Additional Financing (FADAMA III AF) came into effect by 2014 nationally. However, in the FCT, the project did not take off due to the non-payment of outstanding counterpart fund (part 2011, 2012 and 2013).
â€œThe Minister of FCT, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello on assumption to the mantle of FCTA leadership immediately saw the need to enable FCT Fadama III AF to come to effect, thus approved the immediate payment of outstanding amounts up to 2013.â€
â€œIn order to boost fish production, the FCT was selected as one of the 5 states to benefit in the cage fish farming project. The Minister has already directed the Secretariat to key into the project and ensure that youths and fisher-folk communities are carried along.
â€œTo develop and manage forest resources on a sustainable basis, the FCTA in line with its forest conservation policy, raised 30,000 seedlings of different species of forest trees in Bako Bwari Nurseries and distributed to schools and individuals for plantingâ€ Aliyu stated.
He also disclosed that the FCT minister recently approved a complete ban on unauthorised transportation and selling of fresh meat into FCT markets from neighbouring states, stressing only live animals can now be brought into the territory for slaughtering and inspection before sale at the markets. This became necessary in order to stem the sale of donkey and horse meats in the FCT meat markets.
The Secretary stated however that where such demand to bring in fresh meat into the territory is deserving, the operator will have to seek official approval from the Agric Secretariat before doing so.
In his words, â€œâ€¦the Minister in 2015 directed the Secretariat to embark on the clean-up of abattoirs within the Territory. The exercise, which is aimed at evacuating the pile up of abattoir waste as well as remove the illegal structures has helped to reduce congestion and has enhanced effective monitoring of all activities in the abattoirs to ensure that they conform with acceptable hygienic standards.â€