The Federal Government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), distributed farm inputs worth N5 million to18 rice farmers in Oyo State.
Mr Victor Korede, the Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Oyo State chapter, did the distribution in Ibadan.
The inputs include chemicals, improved rice seeds, water pumps and special fertiliser for rice production.
Korede said the exercise, which was carried out under the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of the Federal Government, was to boost the production of rice in the state and reduce its importation into the country.
“We selected only 18 in this wet season because we had a communication problem with our service provider; in no distant time we shall work on how to reach other farmers.
“No fewer than 60 farmers benefitted during the dry season; the loan will last for one year.
‘‘Each farmer is expected to produce at least 8 tonnes per hectare in this wet season.
“As we plant now, any moment from November the harvesting will start.
“When farmers harvest they will sell to Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) who will then sell to millers,” he said.
He urged the farmers to make good use of the opportunity to achieve the goal of improving rice production in the country.
The chairman also implored other rice farmers yet to join the RIFAN to do so to enable them to benefit from the programme.
Also speaking, the Head, Development Finance Office, CBN Ibadan, Mr Bamiji Akinola, noted that the programme which started in November, 2017 was financed by the CBN.
Akinola emphasised that the essence was to achieve food sufficiency in the country and link small holder farmers to big agro-processors.
He said it was a market-driven system whereby the farmers would plant and processors would buy from them.
According to him, the farmers are few during the current season due to non availability of tractable land in the South-West geo-political zone.
“A lot of people including youths are ready to partake but they need land where they can plant.
“So, there is need to create more virgin land to reach more farmers in the scheme,” he said.
One of the farmers, Mr Anthony Akam, who welcomed the gesture, however, requested for more inputs to improve production.
“We are happy with this but would have preferred them to give us more inputs and distribute them in time.
“The wet season starts between June and July, this is August ending now, the inputs we plant now are already late and should have been done in June or July.
“However, we still thank them for the gesture,” Akam said.