The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele stated that a total N4.9bn has been provide as loans to rice farmer under its anchored borrower programme.
Emefiele disclosed during a tour of the farmlands in Kebbi state cultivated under the intervention programme of the CBN.
He said, the anchor borrower programme is premeditated to create economic linkages between farmers and processors, not only to ensure increased agricultural output of rice and wheat, but to also close the gap between production and consumption.
Under the programme, the CBN has set aside N40bn out of the N220bn Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund to be given to farmers at a single digit interest rate of nine per cent per annum.
Smallholder farmers are entitled to loans ranging from N150,000 to N250,000 to assist them in procuring necessary agricultural inputs like seedlings, fertilizers, pesticides, among others, to help boost agricultural outputs and productivity.
Emefiele said through the intervention, a total of 78,581 farmers were mobilized in Kebbi State under the initiative, with a total of 570,000 direct jobs created in the process.
The Governor stated that the success recorded by the rice farmers in Kebbi state has rekindled hope in the ability of Nigeria to be self sufficient in rice and wheat production.
Apart from the number of jobs created, Emefiele stated that 70,871 rural farmers now own and operate bank accounts and are also captured under the Bank Verification Number biometric project.
The Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh applauded the efforts of the CBN in the agricultural sector. According to the statement, Mr. Audu said that with Kebbi State alone targeting one million tons of rice out of the projected seven million tons required by the entire country, the country was on its way to self abundance in rice production.