By Mustapha Buhari, Maiduguri
A total of 2,000 registered rice farmers in Borno State will benefit from the Federal Government’s rice production scheme tagged Anchor Borrower Program under the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
The chairman of Kalef Ventures, who is the consultant to the scheme in Borno, Abba Kale, while speaking at the flag off of the project in Maiduguri, said rice farming had already commenced in liberated communities.
He said the programme was introduced by the Federal Government as part of renewed effort to boost rice and wheat production in the country.
He revealed that the programme was aimed at supporting farmers with agricultural inputs to enhance productivity, create job opportunities and diversify the country’s economy.
He explained that about 3,176 hectares of farm land had been provided in Jere and Konduga to ensure smooth take off of rice planting.
According to him, under the program, each farmer is expected to receive 50 kilogram of seeds, 50 kilogram of urea fertiliser, water pump, insecticide, one unit of hose, generators and some litres of fuel.
“Each of the farmers will also receive N10,000 to fuel their generators while other expenses cover land clearing, tractor services, a hectare of land, herbicides, fertiliser, planting and transplanting, bird scaring and transportation at the cost of N176,386 per hectare budget.
He explained that after paying for the inputs, the balance of the money would be given to each farmer to enable him or her pay for the labour.
“Each farmer is given Faro 44 rice seed and the target for each of the farmers is 60 bags of rice. As you can see we have already distributed the seeds to them.
“The farmers are expected to cultivate one hectare and repay the loan after harvesting the commodity after 90 days.
“Our target for the program in Borno is 5,000 for the second batch. Registration and biometric data capturing of beneficiaries is on-going, while we scale up the exercise to other liberated LGA’s like Mafa, Biu and Bama as soon as normalcy is fully restored.
“The technical committee on the programme comprising of Kelef Ventures, Bank Of Agriculture, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and the Borno State Agricultural Program, BOSAP, had been constituted with a view to ensuring effective implementation of the programme in the state,” he said.
Also speaking, Ibrahim Bunu, a farmer, commended president Muhmmadu Buhari for the initiative, saying it will go a long way in addressing food scarcity and unemployment among youths in the state.
“We are happy to say that we are returning to farm after six years of battling Boko Haram insurgency,” said Mr Bunu.
The scheme was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in Kebbi State in 2015, with a view to boosting rice and wheat production in the country.