Agriculture

Nasarawa Govt. blames logistic challenges for delay in take off of Anchor Borrowers Programme in state

The Nasarawa State Government has attributed logistic challenges as the reason for the delay in quick take off of the Anchor Borrowers Programme in the state.

State’s Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr Jamil Zakari who disclosed this in an interview in Lafia on Friday said that 3,000 rice farmers and 1,000 sesame seed farmers were expected to benefit from the pilot phase of the scheme in the state.

He said that the state government had met 80 per cent of the requirements for the launch of the programme in the state, including the payment of 10 per cent counterpart funding.

“What is outstanding are the new conditions brought about as a result of the migration of the programme from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) platform.

“The new policy took the funding of the programme from the CBN to participating commercial banks, which of course, requires the meeting of some new guidelines in terms of risk sharing.

“Part of the challenge is that NIRSAL requires that the beneficiaries of the programme should be located in the same place, as part of strategies aimed at minimising risks, easing supervision and maximising loan recovery.

“However, our challenge is that nature of our FADAMA system in Nasarawa State makes it difficult to have such contiguous farms, as stipulated by NIRSAL; so, we are discussing with them to consider our peculiar situation,’’ he said.

Zakari said that as soon as an agreement was reached on the contentious issues, the programme would start in the state.

On the Federal Government’s plans to establish ranches in 10 states, including the Nasarawa State, the commissioner said that state would be receptive toward such initiative which was expected to put an end to the incessant skirmishes between farmers and herdsmen across the country.

He said that although the state government had not received any formal communication to that effect, it was a welcome development, given its acceptance by most Nigerians.

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