A total of 12,290 cotton farmers in Zamfara State have benefited from 2020/2021 Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) loan under the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP).
The state Chairman of the National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN), Alhaji Sani Dahiru, disclosed this in Gusau on Wednesday.
Dahiru spoke at a brief ceremony to hand over recovered cotton from the 2020/2021 beneficiaries of the programme in the North West and distribution to some selected cotton ginneries in the state for processing.
He said that about 4,000 tonnes of cotton, representing 40 per cent of the loan, had been recovered from the beneficiaries.
“We are expecting the recovery of 10,000 tonnes of harvested cotton in the state from the beneficiaries,” he said.
He commended the Federal Government for initiating ABP, saying it had boosted cotton farming in the state.
According to him, five years back before the intervention, some of the ginneries in the state were closed down, while some were working below 30 per cent capacity.
“Today, with the ABP, many ginneries have begun operation at over 50 per cent capacity.
“This has enhanced the economy of many families by engaging them in farming and processing activities,” Dahiru said.
In a remark, the National President of NACOTAN, Mr Anebi Achimugu, said: “We are happy with what we are witnessing today in Zamfara.
“This is evidence that the ABP is existing in the country.
“The programme where farmers are supported with loan to produce cotton in a collective form and the products recovered as loan repayment is a welcome development,” Achimugu said.
He called on the federal government to sustain the programme because of its many economic benefits to the nation.
“The advantages of the value chain of cotton are numerous, especially in job creation, provision of raw materials to textiles and other industries, among others.
“We are happy with the successes recorded in Zamfara and other North West states.
“We recorded similar successes in the North East and hope to have the same in the North Central,” he said.
The CBN Governor, Mr Goodwin Emefiele, said ABP was established to create linkage between anchor companies involved in the processing and small holders of the required key agricultural commodities.
Emefiele, represented by the Controller of Gusau CBN Branch, Mr Buhari Abbas, said CBN financed at least 100,000 cotton farmers through ABP in the 2020 wet season and 17,290 were from the state.
“This is in addition to 20,000-hecter farmers financed under the Prime Anchor Model, which represents over 30 per cent of the ABP portfolio,” he said.
He reaffirmed the bank’s commitment to ensuring food security through provision of loans to smallholder farmers to commercial farmers.
Emefiele called on the beneficiaries to reciprocate government’s gesture by repaying their loans as and when due.
The Commissioner of Agriculture, Dr Ibrahim Abdullahi, expressed joy over federal government’s initiative to revive cotton farming in the country.
Abdullahi also thaked the leadership of NACOTAN for complementing government’s efforts toward achieving the desired objectives.
He said Gov. Bello Matawalle initiated some policies to support cotton farming in Zamfara, which is known as the center for cotton farming.