More than 1,000 farmers in Nasarawa State, are to benefit from the Anchor Borrowers Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the production of sesame seeds in 2017.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr Jameel Zakari, made this disclosure in Lafia.
He said that Gov. Umaru Al-Makura of the state, had approved the constitution of a management team for the project, which he would head, in concert with the Director of the CBN in the state.
Zakari said that members of the committee were drawn from a wide range of stakeholders.
The commissioner said that the State Government had indicated interest to participate in the Anchor Borrowers Programme for rice and sesame seed production, where it had a comparative advantage.
“However, we keyed into the programme a little late in 2016 and decided to leave out rice because of the possibility that it might not yield the desired benefits for our farmers. We are concentrating on sesame seed production since we still have some time between now and October for planting. We will also be able to mobilise sesame farmers and see what incentives we can give them to partake in the programme,’’ he added.
Zakari said that a lot of farmers would be empowered through the programme to boost their production and income.
He said that the project management team was already working out modalities on the risk exposure with the financial institutions that were engaged to disburse the funds.
Zakari said the team had started mobilising farmer cooperative bodies from the local communities to participate in the programme.
According to him, town hall meetings are being organised to sensitise farmers on their expectations in the programme.
Zakari said that the state was targeting no fewer than 1,000 farmers in the pilot scheme of the programme for the 2017 planting season.
The commissioner said that the success of the pilot phase of the pragramme in the state would determine its sustenance in subsequent years.
He pledged that the State Government would key into all the Federal Government’s policies aimed at overhauling the agricultural sector in a bid to diversify the economy and better the lot of farmers.