Over 20,000 farmers have been registered in Bauchi state for the Anchor Borrowers Agricultural Programme of the Federal Government.
The scheme was launched in Kebbi last year by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Lead Consultant in charge of the Programme in Bauchi, Dr Abdulmalik Nura stated this on Thursday in Gadan-Maiwa town of Bauchi state at the flag-off of Land Preparation for the programme.
He said that out of the 20,000 registered farmers, 10,000 had so far been screened by field officers and representatives of participating banks.
He stated that the next stage was the training of the farmers on good agricultural practice, farm enterprise management and group dynamics, before the commencement of distribution of input.
“We have equally concluded input assessment of irrigated rice enterprise production module for the state, which currently stood at N370, 000 per hectare.
“By implication, each bonafide farmer is now expected to deposit N18, 500, which is his mandatory 5 per cent equity contribution as prescribed by the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) guideline,” he said.
According to him, the aim of the programme is to create economic linkage between small holder farmers and reputable large scale processors with a view to increasing agricultural output and supply of feedstock to agro processors.
“The scheme involves a finance model where the anchor firms, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and State Government, organize small-holder farmers into economic interest groups,” he added.
The consultant lauded what he called “the tremendous contributions” of the State Governor, who not only picked interest in the programme, but also went beyond fulfilling all the requirements for a participating state.
In his speech, Malam Musa Muhammd, Branch Controller of CBN in Bauchi, said the target of the programme in the state was to create economic linkages between over 100,000 small-holder farmers and reputable large scale processors in the state.
According to him, the objectives are to be achieved through the provision of credit facilities at concessionary interest rates to the farmers.
While commending the state government for its contribution to the success of the programme, he called for the opening of more lands where dry season farming potentials existed, to enable the participation of civil servants who might not have farmlands.
In his remarks, Gov. Mohammed Abubakar said the state government undertook to pay off the 9 per cent interest on the loan to be granted farmers in the programme, to encourage participation.
He promised to accord priority to Agriculture, especially laudable programmes like the Anchor Borrowers Scheme, as part of efforts to empower the people, create job opportunities and tackle the challenges of food security.
Apart from paying off the interest, the state government is also participating in the programme as an Anchor, in addition to other contributions.