The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has set aside over N5.7 billion loan for 10,000 farmers to encourage dry season wheat farming in Bauchi State.
Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefela stated this at the official flagging up of Wheat Input Loan at the press centre in Bauchi.
Represented by the state Branch Controller of the bank, Haladu Idris Angaza, he advised wheat farmers in the state to fully engage in harvesting the product to boost their economic status and that of the state.
He urged them to work with the experts in agriculture to have knowledge in modern farming techniques.
The CBN governor said farming activities remain one of the key players toward providing job opportunities, and way of benefiting any interventions by the federal government.
He said that 4,500 farmers have so far benefitted from the programme in the state.
The governor said the CBN has taken proactive steps by reaching out to the farmers through associations so that only those targeted would benefit.
He said, “This dry seasoning farming is a very easy thing that people can do. The CBN has observed that all the flour mills in Nigeria have become moribund. everything is at a standstill.
“It observed that wheat is imported into the country and this requires the use of dollars which is difficult to access and it is as a result of this that the CBN decided to set aside some money to give farmers to encourage wheat farming.
“Each farmer is supposed to get a minimum of N370,000 per hectare and the other inputs which include the bags of seedlings, the six bags of urea, four bags of NPK, the pumping machine, and the spraying machine. All these are given to a farmer per hectare.
“The total amount of money set aside by the Central Bank of Nigeria for wheat farming in Bauchi state alone is over N5.7 billion. We have budgeted to fund 10,000 farmers. So far, we have distributed to about 4,500 farmers in Bauchi state.
“The new seedlings were brought in from Mexico and these seedlings havr a shorter time of cultivation, unlike the local one that takes a longer period of time. The Mexicans came into Bauchi about three weeks ago and they were taken round the 20 local government areas of the state and they saw the areas to be used for the cultivation.”
He lamented that some farmers under the Anchor Borrowers Scheme for rice farming have defaulted and have failed to pay back the loan.
He said, “Most people have paid back but there are a few who have failed to pay back. We called the leaders of the rice farmers associations and reported these people to them. They gave us the assurance that they will follow them up and ensure that they pay.”
In his keynote address, the state Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural development, Barrister Jidauna Mbami Tula said the loan policy of flour mill would create more participation in agricultural activities among the people in the state which would no doubt bring positive change.
The commissioner therefore used the medium to call on the beneficiaries to judiciously utilize the opportunity and return the money as they promised earlier.
The Emir of Bauchi Dr Rulwanu Adamu, represented by the District Head of Lame, Alh Yakubu Lame, applauded the effort of the members of the association and other beneficiaries to fulfill the promise.
Some beneficiaries interviewed expressed delight and promised to propely utilize the loans accordingly.