Awka – The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has given conditions to rice farmers in the country to effectively access the anchor programme loan of the apex bank.
Mr Godwin Emefiele, CBN’s Governor, in an interaction with rice farmers in Awka on Thursday, said that the loan would be accessed from the N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF).
Emefiele, represented by the bank’s Special Adviser on Development Finance, Mr. Paul Eluhaiwe, said the loan would be given to farmers at 9 per cent interest rate to solve the problem of funding.
This plan, according to him, is in addition to NIRSAL’s capacity building to farmers and bankers.
He said that the loan, an anchor borrowers programme initiative, was also aimed at diversifying the economy by addressing local production of agricultural products.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”70560″]
He identified mechanisation, input and finance as major hindrance to rice production in Nigeria, stressing that the programme, a private sector driven, was aimed at solving the problem.
On the conditions for accessing the loan, Emefiele said that the farmers would be thoroughly trained on the global best agronomic practices.
“The farmers must be member of a validated cooperative before applying for the loan.
“We will find out how much it will take to produce one hectare of rice to determine the amount that will be given to each individual.
“The idea is to enhance efficient management of the resources,” he said.
Mr Charlce Ugwu, Managing Director of Ebonyi Agro Nigeria Ltd., and the major off-taker of the programme in Ebonyi, Enugu and Anambra, said Nigeria consumed about six metric tons of rice per annum but produced only 3.5 tons.
He said that the two paddy aggregation centres in Anambra would be made more viable.
Ugwu promised to buy the rice produced in the state through the programme and enjoined farmers to utilise the opportunity to increase their yields.
Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra, represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Afam Mbanefo, thanked the CBN and the off-taker for the initiative.
He called on the farmers in the value chain to ensure that they were revalidated, while emphasising that the state government had provided tractors for farmers.
He said government had also distributed seedlings and fertilisers and other inputs to support farmers.
Obiano, said that government had also established an information control centre with the hope of driving home, the rice and cassava value chain.
Mr Emmanuel Agwuncha, Coordinator of Anambra Value Chain Development Programme, said that IFAD was creating market and value chain to the farmers.
He said that the objective of the interaction was to get agreement with the representative of the Value Chain Development programme and support farmers organisations interested in selling Ebonyi Agro and obtain a loan. (NAN)