The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)-supported Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) has facilitated the distribution of farming inputs to 156 members of the Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), Oyo State chapter, on Thursday in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital city.
The cocoa farmers received cartons of herbicides, fungicide, insecticides and fertilisers which are some of the major inputs needed for the successful cultivation of the cash crop.
Adeola Adegoke, national president of CFAN, stated during the ceremony that the inputs would enable each beneficiary to increase production from the average of 350 kilogrammes to 600 kilogrammes.
According to him, the country could reduce its dependence on oil and gas revenues if cocoa farmers got adequate funding and support from the government and from the private sector as is being done in a country like Ghana.
He noted that the distribution, which is for the first batch, is strictly for genuine, active and practising cocoa farmers and an average beneficiary will go with three cartons of fungicides, 12 litres of herbicides, nine insecticides and six litres of fertiliser.
Oluwasegun Adebayo, a cocoa farmer and one of the beneficiaries of the programme, commended the CBN and federal government for the incentives which he believes will help boost cocoa production in the forthcoming season.
Business A.M. gathered that the Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria has secured over N700 million through the Anchor’s Borrowers’ Programme. Each certified farmer will receive a loan of N592,332 in cash and inputs for maintaining about three hectares of existing cocoa plantations which translates to over N723,237,372 to the first batch of 1,221 participating farmers in the 10 recognised cocoa producing states that include Ondo, Cross River, Edo, Ekiti, Osun, Kwara, Ogun, Delta, Abia and Oyo.
The CFAN president noted that the loan attracts a five per cent interest rate payable within 18 months. He further explained that the loan is expected to increase beneficiaries’ productivity to about 300kg of cocoa beans per hectare.
He also expressed optimism that the programme would boost the country’s cocoa production which had declined in recent years and restore Nigeria to the forefront in cocoa productivity.
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