The Central Bank of Nigeria has set aside over N5.7bn to give as loan to 10,000 farmers to encourage dry season wheat farming in Bauchi State.
The CBN Comptroller, Bauchi Branch, Saladu Idris, who disclosed this at the flag-off of the programme at the NUJ Secretariat in Bauchi on Thursday, said that 4,500 farmers had so far benefitted in the state.
He said each farmer would be given N370,000 cash, six bags of urea, four bags of NPK fertiliser, pumping and spraying machines.
He said the CBN had taken proactive steps by reaching out to the farmers through associations so that only those targeted would benefit.
Idris said, “This dry seasoning farming is a very easy thing that people can do. The CBN has observed that all the flour mills in Nigeria have become moribund; everything is at a standstill.
“It observed that wheat is imported into the country, and this requires the use of dollars which is difficult to access. It is as a result of this that the CBN decided to set aside some money to give farmers to encourage the farming if this wheat.
“Each farmer is supposed to get a minimum of N370,000 per hectare and the other inputs, which include the bags of seedlings, the six bags of urea, four bags of NPK, the pumping machine and the spraying machine. All these are given to a farmer per hectare.
“The total amount of money set aside by the Central Bank of Nigeria for wheat farming in Bauchi State alone is over N5.7bn. We have budgeted to fund 10,000 farmers. So far, we have distributed to about 4,500 farmers in Bauchi State.”
According to Idris, the new seedlings were brought in from Mexico and have a shorter time of cultivation, unlike the local one that takes a longer period of time.
“The Mexicans came into Bauchi about three weeks ago and they were taken round the 20 local government areas of the state, and they saw the areas to be used for the cultivation,” he added.
He lamented that some farmers under the Anchor Borrowers Scheme for rice farming had failed to pay back the loans they got.
He said, “Most people have paid back but there are a few who have failed to pay back. We called the leaders of the rice farmers associations and reported these people to them. They gave us the assurance that they will follow them up and ensure that they pay.
“Part of the terms of agreement was that as soon as the harvest is done, they are to pay back. Those who fail to pay, we will take appropriate action against them. They will be arrested and locked up until they pay back. And for those who pay back fully on time, they will be rewarded with higher amounts of money and more inputs.”