The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says the agricultural initiative, `Anchor Borrowers Programme’ launched by the Federal Government has led to significant reduction in the price of local rice.
Mrs Nkechi Osuji, the Head, Development Financing Department, CBN, Owerri Branch made the disclosure on Saturday in Owerri.
She spoke 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, cooperative societies, youths and women groups drawn from the 27 local government areas of Imo.
Osuji said as a result of the new agricultural initiative, a 50kg bag of local rice now sells for N13,000 in some states that have embraced the Anchor Borrowers Programme.
She said that if more states join the programme, rice production would be greatly boosted.
Osuji told the participants that the CBN, Bank of Agriculture, Bank of Industry, commercial and micro-finance banks have provisions to finance agricultural activities.
She advised participants to embrace the programme as it was capable of creating thousands of jobs as well as boost the overall development of the nation.
Mrs Ngozi Iheancho, the Imo State Coordinator of National Directorate of Employment (NDE), who also spoke, commended the initiative and urged participants to embrace the programme.
She said that NDE in the state was ready to support the programme and advised against what she called involvement of `ghost farmers’ in the programme.
“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.