The Cross River State Government is to train over one hundred thousand (100,000) rice farmers across the eighteen local government councils of the state. The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Prof. Anthony Egrinya Eneji, made this disclosure during the Anchor Borrower’s Programme Stakeholders sensitisation forum organised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in Calabar.
Eneji said that the programme, when fully in place, would help local farmers increase the production and supply of raw farm produce to processors and boost the overall profitability of farming. He maintained that the goals of the Anchor Borrower’s Programme (ABP) was to create jobs, reduce poverty among small-scale farmers, minimising the importation of commodities and conserve external reserve.
He, however, pledged the readiness of the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources to create an enabling environment for the programme, stating that “the Ministry has already organised sensitisation of rice farmers in twenty (20) rice-farming communities across the state, with a data bank of about ten thousand (10,000) co-operatives ready to participate in the ABP.
In his comment, the Central Bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, who was represented by Special Adviser on Development Finance, Mr. Paul Eluhaiwe, expressed satisfaction with the large turnout of rice farmers for the program. The CBN Governor noted that, the Anchor Borrowers Programme was a combination of rice farmers, various companies and the government, all taking active part in bringing hope and empowerment to rice farmers.