The Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), working through Ecobank, has empowered maize farmers registered under the Hope Concept Cooperative with production inputs to help the country tackle its current shortage of maize.
Adefioye Ahmed, Ogun State chairman of the Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPMAN), noted at the input disbursement in Mologede, nearby Abeokuta, that the present rate of maize production in the South West is very low, generating the need for support with inputs.
Increased productivity in agriculture through the use of improved inputs holds great importance in the struggle to alleviate poverty and expand food security.
As part of the distribution, the CBN empowered farmers with inputs in the form of loans, which they will pay back with their harvests. The items received by farmers included bags of maize seed, sprayers, herbicides, insecticides and fertilizer, among others.
Akin Agboola, president of the Hope Concept Cooperative, urged the federal government to extend the same support given in the North to the South West. He also criticized the bottlenecks in banking related to accessing loans for agricultural production, noting that they were damaging to farmers’ morale and will to expand their farms.
Aremu Shola, national secretary for the MAGPMAN, likewise lamented that unlike in the northern part of the country, the South West is unable to take pride in producing any food crop, since Western state governments have not given adequate support to farmers who produce food.
Representing the Abeokuta branch manager of Ecobank, Niyi Adeotan, who is in charge of the Public Sector and Agric Unit, pointed out that the bank’s core aim is to support farmers in attaining self-sufficiency in food production.