By Francis Sardauna
The Katsina State Government on Friday lamented that the prevailing banditry and other nefarious activities afflicting the state have forced farmers to abandon 58,000 hectares of arable farmlands in communities across the state.
The Special Adviser to the state government on Agriculture, Dr. Abba Abdallah, who disclosed this during a ministerial briefing with journalists at the Government House, said banditry has crippled most economic activities in the state.
He maintained that the heinous activities orchestrated by bandits and kidnappers have drastically affected the food production capacity of the state and government’s quest to revamp its economic status.
He said: “500 farmlands have been abandoned by farmers in the state due to banditry. The abandoned farmlands amount to 58,000 hectares and this has affected 30 per cent of our annual food production.”
He, however, said the state government in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) implemented the Anchor Borrowers Programme and the sum of N12 billion was invested in 170,000 rice farmers in the state.
The special adviser reiterated that the 170,000 benefiting rice farmers were able to produce about 250,000 metric tonnes of rice and estimated sum of N4.8 million was generated as profit to farmers and N78,000,000 to state government as taxes and levies.
Abdallah explained that four rice mills and three new cotton ginneries were established across the state, adding that the programme generated 1,207,000 and 120,000 short and long term employments.
He said: “Katsina State in partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria implanted the Anchor Borrowers Programme in 2015. Farmers’ groups have taken over the management of the project with the state coordinating beginning from 2017.
“Since then, a total sum of about N12 billion has been invested in 170,00 rice farmers that benefited and were able to produce 250,000 metric tonnes of rice.
“Cotton production also attracted investment of about N16.65 billion for 42,500 farmers that produced 59,000 metric tonnes. The sum of N602,000 was invested in 37,747 maize farmers who produced 45,000mtn.”