The CBN Anchor Borrowers programme distributed inputs to 156 members of the Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN) on Thursday in Ibadan.
The cocoa farmers received herbicides, fungicide, insecticides and fertilisers.
CFAN National President, Comrade Adeola Adegoke, told the News Agency of Nigeria during the ceremony that the inputs would enable each beneficiary to increase production from the average of 350 kilograms to 600 kilogrammes.
He said that the country could reduce its dependence on oil and gas revenues if cocoa farmers got adequate funding and support from government and from the private sector as is being done in a country like Ghana.
Adegoke said that 1,221 cocoa farmers in the 10 cocoa producing states of Ondo, Cross River, Edo, Ekiti, Osun, Kwara, Ogun, Delta, Abia and Oyo would benefit from the programme:
According to him, the distribution which is for the first batch is strictly for genuine, active and practising cocoa farmers.
“An average beneficiary will go with three cartons of fungicides, 12 litres of herbicides, nine insecticides and six litres of fertiliser.
“This is the first time we are having such so we are grateful to the Federal Government and the CBN for remembering cocoa farmers,’’ he said.
In his remarks, the representative of Development Finance Office, CBN, Ibadan, Adeola Adegbesan, said that the programme was also designed to link farmers with up-taker processors of cocoa beans.
He said that the gesture was to create employment, reduce input costs, train farmers and build their capacities.
“They can improve their yield, leave subsistent farming and grow to become commercial farmers,’’ he said.
One of the beneficiaries, Chief Oluwasegun Adebayo, commended the CBN and Federal Government for the kind gesture.
“We are very grateful for what the government has done on cocoa production through the CBN this year,’’ he said.
The Anchor Borrowers Programme which was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 17, 2015 is intended to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in the processing of farm produce and small holder farmers.