Opinion

CBN MAGPAMAN Flags off 2020 Wet Season Farm Input Distribution

By Chioma Ndife

The Anambra State Chapter of Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers’ Association of Nigeria (MAGPAMAN) in partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria, flagged-off the farm input distribution for the 2020 wet season farming.

The 2020 wet season farm input distribution of MAGPAMAN was flagged-off under the aegis of the Central Bank’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) on Friday, June 19, 2020, at Okukwa Hall, Amansea, Awka North LGA, Anambra State.

Fides gathered that the Anchor Borrowers Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria, a loan facility with five percent interest rate was designed to provide farm inputs at the beginning of the farming season and cash at the end of the farming season to facilitate the harvest of farm products to farmers.

Flagging off the distribution of the inputs, the Branch Controller of Central Bank of Nigeria, Awka Branch, Mr. Benedetti Maduagwu, expressed delight over the gathering and noted that it demonstrated the commitment of the people of Anambra to ensuring food security and revamping the country’s economy in line with CBN initiatives and policies.

He explained that the CBN in pursuit of its developmental functions, established the ABP to lift thousands of small farmers out of poverty and generate millions of jobs for unemployed Nigerians. He said ABP was designed to create economic linkages between farmers and processors to ensure increased agricultural output in the ten focal commodities namely: rice, maize, cassava, poultry, cotton, cocoa, oil palm, tomato, fish and livestock daily.

He charged farmers to leverage on the opportunity created by the programme and warned them against selling part of the farm produce as it was a serious infraction of the programme, which, he said, was a loan facility meant to be paid using farm produce.

The Head of Development Finance Department, Mrs. Bridget Okpaleke, said over 7000 persons had benefited from the programme after it was flagged-off in 2016 in Anambra State. She said that Rice importation had been eliminated by the programme as Nigerians now ate locally produced rice.

Speaking at the flag-off, the State Chairman of the association, Dr. Matthew Nwike, noted that the official flag-off of farm input distribution for the 2020 wet season farming marked the commencement of maize planting for members of the association in Anambra.

He regretted that the inputs for the 2020 wet season farming arrived late in the state due to bottlenecks in the procurement and distribution process. He disclosed that MAGPAMAN in Anambra had only received maize seedlings from ABP and expressed optimism that fertilizers and other inputs would arrive the state before the end of June.

He stated that the distributed inputs were part of the soft loan which farmers could access through the Anchor Borrowers Programme of the Central Bank, noting that the loan came in the form of inputs and cash component.

He maintained that the farmers at the end of the harvest were expected to pay back the loan after selling the produce realized during the farming season to off-taking companies made available to farmers by the programme.

Nwike, while noting that CBN was out to empower farmers in the country through the AB programme, expressed optimism that the programme would ensure sufficiency of maize for local consumption and export. He said more farmers would be enlisted in the programme by next year as the association received over a thousand entries after it submitted its first list to CBN.

Addressing the Farmers, the Anambra State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Nnamdi Onukwuba, thanked the association led by Mr. Nwike for creating the avenue for farmers to access the programme.

Mr. Onukwuba, represented by the Director Extension, Mrs. Ifeyinwa Uzoka beckoned on the CBN representatives to ensure that the remaining inputs reached the farmers in good time, noting that the processes of maize planting was time bound.

He charged members of MAGPAMAN to collaborate with those in the field of processing to limit the use of dangerous substances in the preservation of maize and other farm produce.
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