In an all efforts to make agriculture attractive and enviable position in business ecosystem rather than mere subsistence, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in its usual way opts in collaboration with Cross River State Government has formally flagged off the input distribution for 2018 wet season farming in Cross River state and environs.According to the report, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, while performing the ceremony disclosed that the over twelve thousand farmers already enrolled under the auspices of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), assured them of continuous support with a view to repositioning agriculture both as business venture for employment generation, wealth creation and self sufficiency in food production.
Emefiele who was represented by the CBN’s spokesman, Isaac Okorafor commended Cross River State Government for its untiring efforts which have started yielding results in terms of awareness among the farmers and provision quality seedlings.
Governor further noted that over four hundred thousand farmers have been supported under ABP to cultivate twelve crops like rice, soya, maize, palm produce, cotton cassava among others. He advised genuine farmers to key into the technology driven input distribution system with a view to benefiting from the low interest rate of nine per cent facility.
According to the CBN Governor, the biometric capturing which identified farmers to specific farmland through mapping has eliminated the issue of ‘absentee’ or non-practising farmer from benefiting from the inputs and other facilities.
On the part of the beneficiaries of the inputs and other facilities under the Bank’s intervention programmes, Emefiele encouraged them to take repayment terms seriously as that will go a long way in ensuring sustainability of the programmes.
The Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade who was represented by the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Professor Egrinya Eneji remind the stakeholders that agriculture remains the channel for sustainable development for Nigeria hence the state government was pragmatic in leveraging the value chain opportunities offered by sector.
According the Prof, various initiatives of the CBN have not only made agricultural practice simple, but very profitable, acknowledge he.
Attah noted that it is now possible to cultivate their farmlands all year round with ‘two wet’ and ‘one dry’ season farming. He further hinted that rice farmers in the state have cultivated twenty thousand hectares of farmland with an expected average yield of five metric tons per hectare.
Chief Etta also assured farmers favourable market conditions for their produce as off-takers on standby to collect the produce from farmers at and agreed and reasonable price.
In the report, the Nigeria Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC) represented by Mrs Eno Ekpo assured farmers of total support and therefore urged them not to hesitate in approaching for any protection and advice