The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in collaboration with Cross River State Government, has commenced the input distribution for 2018 wet season farming in Cross River State and environs.
The initiative is part of the apex bank’s commitment to repositioning agriculture as a business venture rather than mere subsistence engagement.
The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, while performing the ceremony assured the over 12,000 farmers already enrolled under the auspices of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), of continuous support with a view to tapping into the benefits of agriculture for employment generation, wealth creation and self sufficiency in food production.
Emefiele, who was represented by the apex bank’s spokesman, Mr Isaac Okorafor, commended the Cross River State Government for its untiring efforts which had started yielding results in terms of awareness among the farmers and provision of quality seedlings.
He further noted that over 400,000 farmers had been supported under ABP to cultivate 12 crops like rice, soya, maize, palm produce, cotton cassava among others.
The apex bank governor advised genuine farmers to key into the technology driven input distribution system with a view to benefiting from the low interest rate of nine per cent facility.
According to the CBN Governor, the biometric capturing which identified farmers to specific farmland through mapping has helped in eliminating the problem of ‘absentee’ or non-practising farmers from benefiting from the inputs and other facilities.
On the part of the beneficiaries of the inputs and other facilities under the Bank’s intervention programmes, Emefiele urged them to take repayment terms seriously as doing so would go a long way in ensuring sustainability of the programmes.
In his remarks at the ceremony, the state chairman of RIFAN, Chief John Ettah disclosed that provision of agricultural inputs had greatly encouraged farmers in the state.
He noted that it is now possible to cultivate their farmlands all year round with ‘two wet’ and ‘one dry’ season farming.
This is even as he hinted that rice farmers in the state have cultivated twenty thousand hectares of farmland with an expected average yield of five metric tons per hectare.
The RIFAN leader also assured farmers favourable market conditions for their produce as there were off-takers on standby to collect the produce from farmers at and agreed and reasonable price.
The State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, who was represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Professor Egrinya Eneji, reiterated that agriculture remained the channel for sustainable development for Nigeria hence the state government’s pragmatism in leveraging the value-chain opportunities offered by sector.
According to the Governor, various initiatives of the CBN have not only made agricultural practise simple, but very profitable.
The representative of the Nigeria Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC) , Mrs. Eno Ekpo, assured farmers of total support and therefore urged them not to hesitate in approaching the corporation for the coverage of their risks and advice.