By Auwalu Yusuf
The Kebbi State Government has called on the farmers who benefited from the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ agricultural loan programme to hasten repayment for others to benefit.
Alh Garba Dandiga, the state Commissioner of Agriculture, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Birnin Kebbi on Monday.
He said the beneficiaries were expected to repay the loans in cash or in kind, adding that “an individual farmer or group may repay in cash or with bags of paddy rice”.
He said the loans were not free and warned the beneficiaries to hasten repayment to avoid sanctions, stressing that all those who received the loans must repay.
Dandiga said government had directed APC chairmen at local government and ward levels to deliver the message to the beneficiaries, adding that “we will soon begin media jingles on repayment of the loans”.
He said 78,000 farmers benefited from the loans which were aimed at mass production of rice and wheat to boost food security.
NAN reports that the Federal Government is targeting production of one million metric tons of paddy rice under the programme.
The Anchor Borrowers Programme of the CBN aims at creating economic linkages between over 600,000 smallholder farmers and reputable large-scale processors with a view to increasing agricultural output and significantly improving capacity utilization of integrated mills.
This would close the gap between the levels of local rice production and domestic consumption, as well as complement the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) Scheme of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture by graduating GES farmers from subsistence farming to commercial production.
The CBN said that about N40 billion from the N 220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund has been set aside for farmers at a single-digit interest rate of 9 per cent.