FCTA, CBN move to boost agric output

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) through its Agricultural and Rural Development Secretariat (ARDS) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), have taken step to boost agricultural output and move smallholder farmers in the territory from subsistence to commercial agric production.

The move which came under Anchor Borrower Programme targeted at creating economic linkage between the farmers and reputable large-scale processors with a view to increasing production and significantly improving capacity utilisation of processors.

It equally seeks to create jobs, generate employment and increase banks financing among others.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ forum on the project in Abuja, Head, Financial Development Department at Abuja branch of the CBN,  Nuhu Muazu said the initiative would reduce importation of some food commodities which the country had comparative advantage to produce.

He disclosed that the Federal Government had earmarked N40 billion from the N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) development fund to finance the programme.

According to him, disbursement of the N40 billion depended on the need and capacity of those who were involved in the programme.

Also speaking, the Acting Secretary of ARDS, Musa Aliyu, said that the target beneficiaries of the programme would be small-holder farmers in the FCT that were into production of rice and soya beans.

According to him, there was a group of inputs’ providers that were going to produce and distribute farm inputs for use by interested farmers.

Aliyu assured that the FCT Minister, Musa Bello, was very willing to provide all the support that was needed for successful implementation of the programme in Abuja.

He said that FCTA was at negotiation level, and said, “by the time we forge ahead, we will be able to tell the world the exact amount.”

He said, “We are committed to playing a facilitating role by providing expression of interest to CBN to participate under the ABP, provision of logistics support, extension services and training of farmers and extension staff towards the success of the programme and establishment of dedicated court to try erring farmers.

“I will encourage all stakeholders to rub minds together, resolve your differences so that no stone will be left unturned towards the success of the programme.

“We have to establish the number of farmers interested in the programme. We are using the co-operative groups so that there will be easier identification of the number of beneficiaries that are involved in the scheme.”