Rice and maize farmers in Gombe are currently in jubilant mood as the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc.) at the weekend flagged off the distribution of agricultural inputs to 1,729 of them under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), for the 2018/2019 Dry Season farming.
The beneficiaries are farmers in Kupto, Funakaye, and Yamaltu Deba Local Government Areas of Gombe State who have been empowered to cultivate rice and maize during this dry season under the ABP initiative.
At the flag-off ceremony recently, Mr. Rabiu Haruna, the Farmer Representative of HABUCOM Farmers Group, beneficiaries of the ABP input distribution, confirmed that the 1,195 farmers in the cooperative have received 2,170 petrol water pumps which will help them irrigate their farms and mitigate the impact of the dry season experienced in the region during this period.
According to Haruna: “We farm maize on 2,170 hectares of land and with NIRSAL’s assistance, we now have 2,170 water pumps, which means that we have one water pump for each hectare. Before now, we did not have enough water pumps to irrigate our farms, we used to hire water pumps and many times the water pumps broke down because we overworked them”.
Other inputs distributed to the rice and maize farmers of HABUCOM and Rice Resources Cooperative include 123 tonnes of Seed, 6,152 Litres of Crop Protection Chemicals, 769 tonnes of Fertilizer and 3,076 units of knapsack Sprayers.
Speaking on behalf of the Rice Resources Cooperative was the Group’s President, Alhaji Ahmed Shehu, who said that “with the certified improved seeds given to farmers by NIRSAL, we are expecting a bumper harvest of about 120 bags of rice from every two hectares cultivated.”
Shehu said that their dreams will soon become a reality with the newly received water pumps which they will use for farm irrigation, enabling them to cultivate rice during the Dry and Wet Seasons of 2019.
Alhaji Shehu called for additional government support to enable the group to continue the expansion of their farm operations. According to him, members of the group had acquired new methods for dry season rice production from NIRSAL’s Project Monitoring Reporting and Remediation Officers (PMRO) but would need further government assistance to expand their cooperative into larger clusters. He further expressed gratitude to NIRSAL, CBN and the Federal Government for improving the capacity of the group.
NIRSAL is currently completing ABP input distribution in four states of the North-East which are Gombe, Borno, Taraba, and Adamawa; the programme seeks to address the pre-upstream challenges associated with the rice and maize value chains in the region. NIRSAL will, in the coming weeks, flag-off input distribution for the coming Wet Season in Imo, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Abia, and Delta States where the major commodities to be cultivated are Cassava, Rice and Maize.
Recall that last week, NIRSAL launched its agricultural input distribution in Sokoto, Bauchi and Kano States, where over 3,000 rice farmers benefited from the CBN ABP.