It was gathered that the special agricultural programme, which is expected to focus essentially on youths, in the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), targets a minimum of 10,000 young farmers per state.
A top CBN source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the special program, which is part of the Federal Government’s expanded Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), is designed to take unemployed youths off the unemployment markets as well as help maintain food stability in the country.
The source said “ The AADS as you know is a special agric program focusing on youths in the 36 states plus FCT and under the scheme, we are targeting a minimum of 10,000 youths per state for a a start,” adding that “it has the potential of reaching 120,000 youth farmers per state”.
“The CBN is ready to spend more from the N220 billion to support agriculture. If with N45 billion we were able to produce more than two million metric tons of rice in 12 months I believe strongly that if we invest more in agriculture, Nigeria will be able to meet the six million metric tons of rice which is our national rice needs,” the source further stated.
Last Wednesday, the Acting Director, Corporate Communications CBN, Mr Isaac Okorafor, said the expansion of the Anchor Borrowers Programme was to consolidate on the gains so far recorded adding that “the CBN is forming these partnerships to further ramp up domestic production of identified commodities by leveraging the existing organized structures of the agricultural associations nationwide, thereby providing huge economics of scale in the implementation of the programme.”
The ABP has so far achieved success in terms of outreach and coverage, making it one of the most successful CBN development finance interventions to date. About N45.5 billion has been released through 13 Participating Financial Institutions in respect of over 218,000 farmers cultivating nine commodities across 30 States.