A significant drop has been recorded in the price of local rice, following the launch of Anchor Borrowers Programme.
Nkechi Osuji, the Head, Development Financing Department, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Owerri Branch made the disclosure on Saturday in Owerri.
Osuji was speaking at a sensitisation workshop organised by the office of Executive Assistant to Gov. Rochas Okorocha on Human Capacity Development and Poverty Alleviation.
The one-day event was attended by local government representatives of small holder farmers. Also in attendance were the cooperative societies, youths and women groups drawn from the 27 local governments of Imo.
Scheme can create thousands of jobs – official
She said as a result of the new agricultural initiative, a 50kg bag of local rice now sells for N13,000. According to her, this is only obtainable in some states that have embraced the Anchor Borrowers Programme.
Osuji then charged more states to join the programme as it would greatly boost rice production.
She further told the participants that the CBN, Bank of Agriculture, Bank of Industry, commercial and micro-finance banks have provisions to finance agricultural activities.
She, thus, advised participants to embrace the programme as it is capable of creating thousands of jobs. It can as well boost the overall development of the nation, she said.
Participants urged to embrace programme
On her part, the Imo State Coordinator of National Directorate of Employment (NDE) Ngozi Iheancho, commended the initiative while urging participants to embrace the programme.
She stated the readiness of the NDE to support the programme. But she advised against what she called involvement of `ghost farmers’.
“Let there be no ghost farmers and unnecessary bureaucracy in the implementation of the programme in Imo.
“ If this programme is genuinely executed, a lot of jobs and wealth will be created in Imo,’’ she said.
Dr Edwin Uche, the Executive Assistant to Gov. Okorocha on Human Capacity Development and Poverty Alleviation, said the event was organised on order to expose farmers.
Uche said the state would expose farmers to grow rice, cassava, and maize, noting that the short and long term target of the programme is to create thousands of jobs in a year.
Participants who spoke, appealed to the organisers to step up action to ensure that Imo farmers key into the scheme like farmers in other states.