Okowa Pledges Commitment To Development In Delta

delta-state-governor-ifeanyi-okowaDelta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, has urged the people of the state to take advantage of the Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The programme is aimed at creating economic link between small holder farmers and reputable large-scale processors, with a view to increasing agricultural output and significantly improving capacity utilisation of processors.

Governor Okowa made the appeal at the Isoko Economic and Investment Summit held at Oleh, Delta State, where he said his administration is committed to encouraging speedy development of the state.

The summit, tagged ‘Harnessing Isoko Economic Potentials and Opportunities for Sustainable Development’, is driven by the need to diversify the economy of the Isoko nation and the state at large.

It is also targeted at improving human capital development, reducing the poverty index of the people of the area, as well as exploring new avenues of business development.

The Governor, who said the outcome of the summit should not be put to waste, decried the low patronage of the Anchor Borrowers’ programme.

He called on the people to form cooperative societies, to enable them have access to the funds and be involved in large-scale farming, which he described as the greatest employer of labour.

“Unfortunately, not too many Deltans (Delta residents) have cued into the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme.

“The scheme was slated just for rice alone, but because of our request, it now includes aqua-poultry. Over 50,000 people are engaged in this process but we have just 2800,” he said.

Keynote speaker at the event, Professor Abednego Ekoko, noted that before investments can thrive, certain infrastructure must be put in place.

“Isoko suffers from serious infrastructural deficiency, especially power. Most times, power is as low as zero with high bills and it is a problem. There are two Isoko river ports that have been made extinct,” he said.

The Chairman of the occasion, Ayodele Othihiwa, was hopeful that the summit would attract investors who will work with the people to create value in areas of comparative advantage, particularly in agriculture and agribusiness.

“The acreage of farmland cultivated is limited and when yield is compared to the efforts, it is very low. Therefore, one of the primary things we need to do is to transform the agricultural sector through mechanised farming,” he noted.

CBN Anchor Borrowers Scheme Boosts Input For Anambra Farmers

CBN, Anchor Borrowers Scheme, 683 Farmers The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is boosting input for farmers in Anambra State with over 150 million Naira worth of improved 50kg rice seedlings, pesticides and cash.

This disbursement under the Anchor Borrowers Programme of the apex bank has brought joy to the 683 Rice Farmers from eight Local Government Areas in the south-east state who are beneficiaries of the scheme.

The intervention which has also been disbursed to farmers in other States is aimed at repositioning agriculture in the scheme of things in Nigeria.

According to the Controller of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Awka Branch, Mr Chuks Sokari, “the programme will yield results in the areas of job creation on a massive scale, improve local food production, and help conserve the scarce foreign reserves”.

The Central Bank of Nigeria in funding the entire programme has earmarked 40 Billion Naira from the 220 Billion Naira Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development fund, for farmers across the nation at a single digit rate of nine per cent.

This is part of the government strategy to diversify the nation’s economy away from crude oil to other sectors, with agriculture prioritised.

The happy farmers converged on the ADP premises in Awka, to be part of the initiative that would help to significantly improve their output in rice production.

The disbursement of cash, improved seedlings and pesticides were the major highlights of the programme, as farmers were ready to cue into the programme that brings credit facility to their doorsteps.

Addressing the farmers, the Awka Branch Controller of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Chuks Sokari, highlighted that Anambra State had taken a bold step by leading in the export of vegetables to Europe.

He said he was proud of their efforts and expressed his believe that with abundant manpower, creative ingenuity and favorable climate, the latest scheme would indeed help the farmers.

The Micro Finance Coordinator for the Rural Finance Institution Building Programme, RUFFIN, Mr Ibrahim Adamu, said that prior to that time, assessing credit facility for farmers had been very difficult but the Anchor Borrowers Programme of the CBN now provides financial succor to agriculture in Nigeria.

Although the cash disbursement is not a grant but a loan in which payment will commence after five months of receipt, the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mechanisation, Processing, and Export, Mr Afam Mbanefo, is optimistic that the farmers will reciprocate the kind gesture extended to them.

Some beneficiaries expressed their feelings over the CBN support, while some others wished that the distribution of the improved seedlings and chemicals had come earlier, as rice cultivation begins in March.

Generally, except for those that cultivate all year round, the Commissioner for Agriculture appealed to the CBN to extend their financial support to other aspects of agriculture other than rice production.