At least 200,000 farmers from the federation have benefitted from the N43.9 billion Federal Government’s agricultural Anchor Borrowers Programme, President Muhammadu Buhari has disclosed.
The programme was inaugurated by the President in November 2015.
The President, who made this known in a nationwide broadcast to mark Nigeria’s 57th independence anniversary on Sunday in Abuja, said the implementation of the programme had been an “understanding success”.
According to the President, the amount was released to the farmers through the Central Bank of Nigeria and 13 participating institutions.
Buhari stated that the programme involved 233,000 hectares of farmland, cultivating eight commodities, namely: Rice, Wheat, Maize, Cotton, soya-beans, Poultry, Cassava and Groundnuts, in addition to fish farming.
He said: “These initiatives have been undertaken in close collaboration with the states. I wish to commend the efforts of the governors of Kebbi, Lagos, Ebonyi and Jigawa States for their support to rice and fertilizer revolutions.
“Equally commendable are contributions of the governors of Ondo, Edo, Delta, Imo, Cross River, Benue, Ogun, Kaduna and Plateau states for their support for the Presidential initiative for palm oil, rubber, cashew, cassava, potatoes and others crops.
“With the abundance of rainfall last year and this year, agriculture has enjoyed divine intervention.”
On the 57th anniversary, President Buhari said October 1 remained a special date for all Nigerians as this marked the day when the nation had attained “one of the most precious of human desires – freedom”.
He said: “Over the years the country has gone through trials and tribulations, but October 1 is always a day for celebrations. It is a day for thanks giving, reflection and re-dedication.
“It is also a day for remembrance. We should remind ourselves of the recent journey from 1999 – 2015, when our country happily returned to democratic rule.
“However, in spite of oil prices being an average of $100 per barrel and about 2.1m barrels a day, that great piece of luck was squandered and the country’s social and physical infrastructure neglected.
“We were left with no savings and huge infrastructure deficit.
“The APC government’s Campaign rallying cry to restore security, re-balance the economy and fight corruption was not all rhetoric.
“The country must first be secured. The economy must be re-balanced so that we do not depend on oil alone. We must fight corruption which is Nigeria’s Number One Enemy.”
Buhari restated that the APC-led administration would continue to do its best in tackling these tasks in earnest.