By John Ndu/Chioma Nwankwo/Nkiru Mbunabo
Onitsha, Dec. 3, 2018 (MOI) Anambra Government has announced arrangements to access N3.5 billion from Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), for Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS) and Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS).
Gov. Willie Obiano announced this at the launch of 2018 Anambra Trade Fair, at Chuba Ikpeazu Sports Stadium, Onitsha.
The programme was organised by the Association of Anambra State Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (AACCIMA), with the theme: “Promoting Economic Development through Manufacturing, Trade and Agriculture’’
He said the concluded arrangements were geared toward the development of agricultural activities for all round farming in the state.
Obiano also used the opportunity to mark the 2018 World Food Day while flagging off the 2018 Dry Season Farming.
Gov. Obiano also recalled that agriculture had been one of his cardinal pillars of his administration, alongside trade, commerce, Industrialisation, Oil and Gas.
He said his administration recorded excellence in agriculture since his emergence as governor and continued to initiate adequate measures to further promote productivity as well as export of agricultural produce.
The governor noted that he had set aside N383 million loan facilities to Small Holder Farmers through the Anambra State Small Business (ASBA) and N195 million for procuring agricultural inputs this planting season.
He, then, explained that plans had also been finalised to invest the N1.5bn to develop not less than 5,000 hectares of land within communities.
“We are currently developing other agricultural schemes with Nigeria Incentive Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) to ensure that the set targets on rice, cassava and fish value chains would be achieved.
“We have also fine-tuned our plan for sustained export activities on yam, sweet potatoes, cocoyam and vegetables.
“Our efforts to make more people to embrace farming have been yielding impressive results in the year under review.
“Not less than 1, 000 new farmers are duly registered within the period of seven months to bring the number from 109,137 in 2017 to 110,144 farmers.
He adds: “Rice production rose from 244,235 metric tons in 2016 to 345,000 metric tons in 2017 and currently stands at 440,000 metric tons by the end of 2018.
“Cassava production shot up from 1,792,596 in 2016 to 1,881,589 metric tons in 2017 while maize production increased from 39,902 to 43,521 metric tons during the last planting season.
Obiano noted that land utilisation also increased in the period under review due to the influx of more people into agriculture.
He stressed that the state’s projections for the 2018 planting season would, however, be adversely affected by recent flooding disasters that swept through some parts of the state this year.
“Studies show that 49,000 hectares of farmland were affected by the floodwaters. Other factors that affected our performance in the last planting season include our inability to access agricultural funds.’’
The governor said that farmers who took loans did not show enough enthusiasm to repay them and open access to more intending borrowers.
Obiano, however, prayed the farmers to keep their love for agriculture, promising to always support and hold their hands, stressing that `Agriculture is the Future’.
Commissioner for Agriculture, Mechanisation, Processing and Export, Mr Afam Mbanefo and his counterparts in the Ministry of Trade, Commerce, Market and Wealth Creation, Mr Christian Madubuko reaffirmed that Anambra had been globally recognised through huge investments by the governor on commerce and agriculture.
Display of agricultural produce also featured as part of the event. (MOI)