Anchor borrowers’ programme: CBN, wheat farmers launch loan recovery in Gombe State

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By Peter Uwumarogie
Gombe, May 10, 2022 The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has launched the 2022 dry season farming loan recovery scheme under the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme in Gombe State.

The drive is in collaboration with Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria (WFAN) in the state.

The ceremony was launched on Tuesday in Angwan-Uku community, Gombe Local Government Area.

Mr Abdullahi Baba-Isa, Head, CBN’s Development and Finance Office, said government’s intervention in wheat farming had yielded positive results.

Baba-Isa stated that the intervention was aimed at improving the economy, reducing wheat importation, creating employment and boosting wheat production.

He said it was the first time that the CBN was intervening in wheat farming in the country and 15 states were assisted to boost the cultivation.

According to him, the intervention is to engage 150,000 farmers to cultivate the commodity and reduce 60 per cent importation of wheat, thereby saving the country two billion dollars.

Baba-Isa said in Gombe State, 5,000 hectares of farmland were cultivated under three anchors and the results from the harvest were impressive.

The apex bank official said high yielding variety of wheat were given to farmers to cultivate.

“This is deliberate to ensure that farmers benefit maximally from the programme and earn more income.”

He, however, appealed to farmers to always pay their loans when due, to encourage the government to accommodate more farmers in the programme.

Also, Alhaji Lauwali Audu, the Chairman of WFAN in Gombe State, said the intervention was timely in view of the current price of wheat and the high demand of the commodity.

Audu said no fewer than 2,464 farmers benefitted from the intervention and were given inputs to cultivate the commodity.

He said that the recovery was going on as expected, adding that farmers were expected to pay back 10 bags of wheat per hectare.

“I can tell you with the improved seeds, some farmers harvested 30 bags per hectare.”

The chairman commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the efforts aimed at empowering youths and farmers in the state while appealing for early distribution of inputs ahead of the next dry season farming.

Mr Ahmed Shamsuddeen, the Secretary of the association, said the most impressive part of the intervention was the number of jobs created.

Shamsuddeen said over 1,000 youths benefited from the intervention in the state.

“The empowerment of youths through job creation is one good reason to commend the Federal Government.”

He advised youths to engage in wheat production because the commodity was lucrative with good returns on investment.

“With the war in Ukraine that is a major producer of wheat, the price of the commodity has increased and the intervention by CBN is really timely and has prevented food crisis in wheat consumption.”

One of the young farmers, Auwalu Baba, said it was the first time he was cultivating wheat and “I can tell you I am happy that I benefited from the intervention”.

Baba said the technical know-how acquired from the programme would help him cultivate wheat in subsequent seasons.

He commended President Buhari for remembering “a youth like me who would have been idle during the dry season but now I am financially different and I am happy”, he said.

Naija247news reports that several bags of wheat, loaded in pick-up vans, were submitted to off takers through the CBN as their loan repayment.