The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in collaboration with Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Gombe State chapter has launched the 2021/2022 inputs distribution for dry season farming.
The ceremony under the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrowers Programme was launched in Dadin-Kowa community, Yamaltu/Deba Local Government Area of Gombe on Saturday.
Mr Abdullahi Baba-Isa, Head, CBN’s Development and Finance Office, said the programme was also to officially launch the Anchor Borrowers Programme for women in the state.
According to Baba-Isa, women have been part of the programme and have done well so far cultivating over 100 hectares in the state during the wet season.
He said the support was to further encourage women to do more to contribute to food security, while empowering them to improve on their wellbeing.
The CBB official giving women more opportunities would help to alleviate poverty in line with the Federal Government’s desire to reduce poverty amongst citizens, especially the vulnerable ones.
He added that during the dry season, women rice farmers would be supported to cultivate 100 hectares.
Alhaji Abubakar Bello, Special Project Coordinator, CBN/RIFAN Partnership, Gombe State chapter, said the exercise marked the commencement of inputs distribution to over 25, 000 rice farmers.
Bello stated that the Federal Government’s intervention in dry seasoning farming would further boost youth employment, food security and the income of rice farmers.
He said the impact of all-year-round farming was helping to take youths off the street and contribute to the economic diversification agenda of the government.
He commended the Federal Government, CBN and RIFAN national executives for their support, adding that Gombe would consolidate on the 140, 144 metric tonnes it contributed to the rice pyramid showcased in Abuja.
Also, Mr Ahmed Bikaji, the Project Manager, Irrigation, Upper Benue River Basin, Dadin-Kowa, said more people were indicating interest in dry seasoning farming in the state, which was impressive.
Bikaji noted that rain-fed agriculture was not going to improve the food security efforts considering the growing population of the country, hence, the need to harness the irrigation potential to boost food availability.
He stated that with the direction the Federal Government had taken through irrigation farming, the idea of feeding ourselves and having to export would be realised with time.
According to him, the fringes of Dadin-Kowa Dam are being used for irrigation and the downstream farmers up to Adamawa are actively involved in irrigation farming.
“What we have now in the reservoir is over 2.8 billion cubic metre of water and it is enough for farmers and no farmer should be afraid of shortage of water,” he said.
The leader of women in rice farming, Gombe State, Mrs Bathsheba Kalla, said the move by the Federal Government to empower women in agriculture would impact positively on poverty reduction.
Kalla said over 8, 000 women farmers were into rice cultivation in the state and over 1, 000 would be assisted through the intervention of the government.
A beneficiary of the programme, Hajia Nafisa Ibrahim, said lack of funds had made women to jettison farming, but that over 80 per cent of women were now participating.
Ibrahim said the effort of the CBN was empowering widows, women and youths as well as reducing hardship amongst rural women.
“The effort also help to achieve the food sufficiency effort of the government,” she noted.
The beneficiary added that with the intervention, she cultivated over 50 hectares during the wet season, saying, “with that I am able to help my household and contribute meaningfully to my community.”
NAN reports that other beneficiaries commended the CBN and RIFAN for empowering them to cultivate rice during this year’s dry season farming.
Inputs given to some of the farmers included bags of fertilisers, rice seedlings, pesticides, sprayers, water pumps and hose pipe.