Mr Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor, while performing the ceremony assured the over twelve thousand farmers already enrolled under the auspices of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), 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 apex bank’s spokesman, Mr 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 of quality seedlings.
He 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 farmers 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 urged them to take repayment terms seriously as that will go a long way in ensuring sustainability of the programmes.
In a remark at the ceremony, the state chairman of RIFAN, Chief John Ettah, disclosed that provision of agricultural inputs has greatly encouraged farmers in the state. He 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.
Professor Ben Ayade, the Cross River State Governor, who was represented by the state Commissioner for Agriculture , Professor Egrinya Eneji, reiterated 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 Governor, various initiatives of the CBN have not only made agricultural practise simple, but very profitable.
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.