The President of the Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), Mr. Adeola Adegoke, said that the 2020/2021 loans provided to some cocoa farmers in the country through the apex bank’s Anchor Borrowers program have helped increase the productivity of at least 10%, with some increasing their production by 30 to 40 bags of cocoa beans. Adegoke added that the beneficiaries have also diversified their income base by planting other crops and adding livestock and fish production through the facilities. He said he hoped more farmers would get loans from the ABP program before the start of the cocoa planting and tending season.
The president of CFAN explained that even though the country’s agricultural sector is facing difficulties amid insecurity and other forms of crime, local farmers could testify that the PBA program has saved the country’s food basket from his crisis. Adegoke, however, said some farmers face certain challenges, such as fires, destruction of farms by herders and the impacts of climate change on farmers. Despite these challenges, the repayment of the loans was very encouraging and the association had sensitized the beneficiaries to speed up the repayment.
The new National Chairman of the Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Mudi Farouk, said in his speech on the occasion that agriculture now contributes three times more to the country’s GDP than oil. He said the reason was the huge agricultural interventions by the apex bank in the Nigerian economy.
These agricultural interventions, he says, have helped change the status of local farmers in the country. While evaluating the impacts of the ABP programme, the national president of AFAN stated that the heart of the program was to provide loans (in kind and in cash) to smallholder farmers to boost agricultural production, create jobs and reduce the food import bill to conserve foreign exchange reserves. Farouk added that the program evolved from consultations with stakeholders, including the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, state governments, agro-processors, commodity associations, financial institutions and smallholder farmers to increase agricultural production, boost non-oil exports and diversify incomes. base in Nigeria. However, he pointed out that this loan program has had an impact on the productivity of farmers, the availability of industrial raw materials and perhaps exports currently in the country’s agricultural sector. A key representative of the Flour Millers Association of Nigeria (FMAN), Dr. Oluwasina Olabanji, while speaking about the overview of wheat production in Nigeria and the impacts of PBA, said that seed and seed issues Inputs were processed by CBN (supplying quality seed from Mexico) and FMAN agreed to remove all wheat grain produced by farmers. Olabanji assured Nigerians that the journey towards wheat self-sufficiency had started in Nigeria and would be supported by the political will of the Nigerian government and various initiatives of FMAN and CBN. Also commenting on the event, Vice President, Olam Agric, Reji George said the program was able to produce more crops for food and industrial purposes. He said his company and contractors’ efforts to participate in the 2020/2021 season failed because the company gave our inputs to the contractors before the ABP inputs were ready. “But this year, we can’t because the Kano and Jigawa irrigation facilities are closed for repairs. We are ready to participate,” he said. “The joint venture has 1,900 small growers growing tomatoes with purchase agreements. 1,000 farmers are in Jigawa and they cultivate 1,000 hectares, with others in Bauchi and many other places as well,” he said.