The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) has started the distribution of cashless dry season farm inputs to the beneficiaries of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) in Adamawa.
Alhaji Sadiq Daware, the National Treasurer of RIFAN, made this know in a telephone interview with News men in Abuja.
He said that the distribution of the cashless farm inputs would take place under a special pilot project tagged: “2018/2019 Wet-season RIFAN/CBN/BOA, Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) Farming Model’’.
Daware said that 600 rice farmers, out of the 500,000 farmers targeted for the project in the state, were benefiting from the pilot project.
He said that under the first phase of the programme, 1,800 hectares of land would be cultivated at the cost of N203,000 per hectare.
The national treasurer said that 12 million farmers from 32 states were expected to benefit from the one-year pilot project, while 300,000 rice farmers from 20 states would be supported at the beginning of the project.
“Before now, the size of each farm had been captured and an identity card was issued to each of the beneficiaries of the project for easy identification and documentation to enable them to access the required support.
Daware said that the project was a modified version of the ABP, which was aimed at strengthening efforts to attain bumper rice harvests.
“It is a cashless project that will provide farmers the needed farm inputs, which comprise improved seedlings, water pumps, chemicals and other services like land preparations.
“Under the project, mechanised services will also be made available to farmers.
“We believe that the mechanised farming will lead to bumper rice harvests that will bring about a fall in the price of paddy rice in the country and, thereby, engender self-sufficiency in rice production and boost exports,’’ he said.
Daware said that under the new initiative, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had modified the programme to facilitate its direct relations with RIFAN so as to ensure timely disbursement and full repayment of ABP loans, unlike what obtained in the past.
He expressed the optimism that the new initiative would double the achievements of the ABP, which was launched in Kebbi on Nov. 17, 2015, with a renewed target to produce additional 2.5 million tonnes of paddy rice.
The CBN recently formed strategic partnerships with agricultural commodity associations in the country, with the aim of expanding the implementation of the ABP.