By Peter Uwumarogie
Some farmers in Dadin-Kowa community of Gombe State have commended the Federal Government’s agricultural intervention aimed at accelerating maize cultivation during dry season activities.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Federal Government has initiated the Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP), to enhance farmer access to fertiliser, seeds and inputs, encourage productivity, develop farmer enterprising skills and add value to the produce.
ABP is a critical component of the FG’s agriculture transformation agenda designed to achieve self-suffiency and food security in the country.
The programme is being implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in collaboration with state governments, consortium of commercial banks and inputs suppliers otherwise called ‘Anchor Clients.’
A cross section of the farmers, who spoke with NAN on Wednesday, in Dadin Kowa maize field, commended the gesture, saying that it encouraged more youth to go back to the farms and engage in productive activities.
Abubakar Goni, a farm worker, said he was hired to work on one of the maize farms supported by the CBN.
Goni said that farmers in the area received support under the ABP and engaged in irrigation activities in the area.
“Before now, I and my friends were idle throughout the dry season as we only cultivate our farmlands during the wet season.”
According to him, the ABP support in the area of maize cultivation, especially during the dry season reduce poverty and drug abuse among the youth in the area.
“Large number of youth are working on this farmland and making money for themselves on daily basis.
“I am so happy that CBN support maize farmers to cultivate about 600 hectares of land in Dadin Kowa.
“We have over 56 farmers working in my cluster and there are many farm clusters working in the area,’’ he said.
Another farmer, Aliyu Yerima lauded the CBN and the leadership of the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) for viable farmer support programmes.
Yerima said that apart from encouraging food production, the support was imperative towards providing job opportunities to the youth through effective utilisation of agricultural resources.
“This is because, irrigation is expensive and now the CBN and MAAN intervened, and our lives are better again, we are productive in dry season.’’
Yahaya Abdullahi, a maize grower, who corroborated earlier opinion, described as ‘impressive,’ the number of youth working in the CBN/MAAN supported farmlands in Dadin-Kowa.
”ABP intervention helped to reduce unemployment among the youth, especially during the dry season.
”Many youth fear dry season because of idleness since wet season activities ended, and no one in need of our services.’
“However, between November and January, many youths engaged in manual jobs from planting to fertiliser application, spraying among others.
“The idleness that lead many into drug abuse and crimes reduced drastically, and to encourage us we are being provided free meals besides our daily stipends; this really encouraged youth to go to the farms.’’
Also, Bello Tukur and Alhaji Adamu, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment to reinvigorate agriculture to achieve self-suffiency and improve social and economic wellbeing of farmers in the country.
They further advocated for the expansion of the scope ABP to mobilise participation and encourage food production. (NAN)