In efforts to boost local production of rice, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), through the Anchor Borrowers Program (ABP), in collaboration with the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) has inaugurated rice input distribution to farmers for dry season farming starting in Gombe State.
The Special Project Coordinator, CBN/RIFAN Partnership, Gombe State chapter, Alhaji Abubakar Bello, at the ceremony held at Dadin-Kowa in the Yamaltu/Deba Local Government Area of the state, noted that the inauguration marked the commencement of input distribution to over 25, 000 rice farmers.
ABP was established to enhance domestic value addition through the creation of economic linkages between smallholder farmers (SHFs) and reputable companies (anchors) involved in the production and processing of key agricultural commodities.
At the event, the Project Manager, Irrigation, Upper Benue River Basin, Dadin-Kowa, Ahmed Bikaji, explained that more farmers were enrolling in dry season farming in the state because rain-fed agriculture was grossly inadequate for the food security efforts considering the growing population of the country.
He disclosed that the fringes of Dadin-Kowa Dam were being used for irrigation and that the dam has a reservoir of over 2.8 billion cubic metres of water, which is enough for farmers and no farmer should be afraid of a shortage of water.
Abdullahi Baba-Isa, Head of the CBN Development and Finance Office, was also present at the event and stated that the program was to officially launch the ABP for women in order to encourage them to do more in the effort to ensure food security.
Bathsheba Kalla, one of the beneficiaries and leader of women in rice farming in the state, pointed out that over 1, 000 women out of about 8, 000 that are engaged in rice farming in the state have been selected to receive assistance through the intervention of the government.