No fewer than nine million yam seedlings are to be distributed to yam farmers across the country under the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme, (ABP) the Technical Committee on Nigeria Yam Export says.
Prof. Simon Irtwange, the Chairman of the committee, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday, that the distribution would commence in the first quarter of 2019.
Irtwange, also the President Yam Farmers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, said the planned move would support yam production, processing, export and aggregation (storage).
He explained that the seedlings would be disease free seeds from aeroponics technology being commercialised with the support of International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
According to him, CBN has accepted to put yam on the Anchor Borrowers Programme so we are right now doing documentation across states.
Irtwange noted that four seed companies had been authorised by the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) to produce the yam seedlings.
“We are inviting farmers and we are trying to get anchor for the programme especially processors, aggregators and exporters.
“There is a format that the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending will give us.
“The NIRSAL template will tell us how to collect the information, farm size, Bank Verification Number (BVN), account number and after that, we will get anchor and hold stakeholders meeting.
“Our plan is that by December, we will finish the documentations and by first quarter of 2019, we expect to have the seed yams coming from the seed companies.
“About nine million yam seedlings will be available by first quarter of 2019 so that by March, farmers will begin to plant under the Anchor Borrowers Programme, the seedlings will be distributed to farmers.
“This will support production, processing, export and also help those who want to go into aggregation (storage) to sell when the price will be a little higher.
“This system will make more yams to be in the market adding that the nine million seedlings is just the beginning,’’ he said.
Irtwange said that the association expects that by 2020, yam production would be scale up production.
He assured farmers that the price of the disease free yam seedlings would be far more cheaper when compared to the market price.
“We are thinking of planting the yams on ridges not heaps so that we can introduce mechanisation and this can decrease our planting area density by 10,000.
“We think it is the best way to go in yam production in Nigeria,’’ the president said.