Delta Government has registered over 30,000 farmers across the selected enterprises of Cassava, Oil Palm, Rice and Fisheries for the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr Austin Chikezie, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Asaba.
He said that the aim was to boost the production of Fisheries, Cassava, Oil Palm and Rice production under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)`s ABP in the state.
The commissioner said that the state policy on agriculture was directed towards achieving agricultural growth and development.
He explained that the government would focus attention on providing food in excess for local consumption and industrial raw materials for agro-industries, employment and poverty alleviation.
He noted that the CBN anchor borrowers` scheme would be used as a financial model for small holders` farmers in Oil Palm, Rice, Cassava and Fish.
He said that about 30,000 farmers have been registered across the selected enterprises of Cassava, Oil Palm, Rice and Fisheries, adding that high quality inputs and technical assistance would be provided for farmers.
According to Chikezie, the scheme is designed to increase production and supply of raw materials to food processors.
“And that through the scheme, qualified commodity out growers are assisted to identify an anchor firm (off taker or Processor) and supported with loan at nine per cent interest rate to increase their farm holdings in the state’’.
The commissioner said that for oil palm, government had commenced the raising of 220, 000 improved oil palm seedlings for distribution to 250 farmers for cultivation on 500 hectares of Oil palm plantations.
He said that five mini-oil mills have been fabricated and ready for distribution to farmers, adding that the mills cost the state government about N115 million to execute.
According to him, the oil palm programme will create 100 direct jobs and over 300 indirect jobs in the state.
“In rice production, plans are on to ensure that rice cultivated in the state meets international standards, even as the state government has approved N51 million to boost its production by ensuring all season farming.
“Government intervention in fisheries, particularly in aquaculture, has yielded results with more than 5,000 being currently engaged in various clusters across the state through cooperatives societies.
“The annual fish production has increased from 15,273 metric tonnes in 2008 to 24, 413 metric tonnes in 2016’’.
He said that the state government in 2015 introduced and distributed the new improved pro-vitamin A-Beta carotene cassava cuttings, sprayers, agro-chemicals, insecticides and fertilisers to farmers in the state.
NAN recalls that Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa had in February 2016 inaugurated an agricultural marketing coordination committee, with a charge to reform the agriculture sector in the state.
The governor appointed the state Chief Job Creation Officer, Prof. Eric Enoh, as the committee chairman.
He noted that the committee would focus on developing the agricultural sector in line with his administrations objectives of economic diversification, food security, self-reliance and prosperity for all.
“This is in consonance with our electoral promise to reform the agricultural sector for the purposes of wealth creation, boosting employment, achieving value addition and sustainable economic growth.
Okowa said that the committee would tackle the marketing challenges faced by farmers in the state to help farmers find suitable markets for their produce.
Other term of reference of the committee includes: identifying existing and potential markets for agricultural produce and device measures and arrangements for farmers to access those markets.
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