Federal Government of Nigeria has earmarked N600 billion to enhance farmer access to agricultural financing in the country. The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabi Nanono who gave the indication said that about 2.4 million farmers were targeted to benefit from the interest free facility, designed to encourage application of modern technologies in rice and cash crop cultivation.
Speaking at the inauguration of the 2020 wet season rice cultivation support programme at Tofai community in Gabasawa Local Government Area of Kano State, the Minister said the gesture is aimed at encouraging productivity.
The programme, implemented under the Agro Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project (APPEALS) would support farmers to achieve improved productivity, enhance self-sufficiency and food security in the country.
Minister Nanono, said: “We have commenced farmer registration exercise to capture their information, number of farmlands and locations and the beneficiaries will be monitored to ensure effective utilisation of the facility, and mobilise participation in subsequent programmes.”
He commended the APPEALS project for supporting rice farmers in the country, noting that the gesture would go a long way to encouraging agricultural activities in Nigeria.
The Minister urged the beneficiaries to make good use of the of fertiliser, seeds and inputs given them to boost their production capacity.
“If you make proper use of the inputs, you could employ other people and it will enable you participate in subsequent programmes.”
Also speaking, the Coordinator, APPEALS Project in Kano State, Hassan Ibrahim, said the project is a joint collaboration between the World Bank, Federal Government and the six participating states.
Ibrahim listed the participating states to include Kano; Kaduna, Cross Rivers, Enugu, Lagos and Kogi.
He said that about 100 farmers drawn from six rice farmer groups participated in the programme in Gabasawa, Kano.
The coordinator noted that the gesture was to augment the Federal Government’s policy on agriculture, designed to encourage productivity, enhance farmer enterprising skills, food security and value addition as well as promote export.
“The APPEALS Project in Nigeria is to enhance agricultural productivity of small and medium holder farmers, to improve value chains in the six participating states.” he said.
He added that 480 tons of rice were expected to be produced by the selected farmers in Kano State.
On his part, Alhaji Zubairu Ibrahim, Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in the state, lauded the Federal Government’s agriculture transformation programmes.
Ibrahim said the association would adopt proactive measures to assist its members benefit from viable agriculture development programmes and farmer support services initiated by the government.