Mr Segun Atho, Deputy President, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) has said that plans are underway to build a 130,000 metric tonne rice processing plant in Delta.
Atho disclosed this on Wednesday when his visited Asaba, Ibrede in Ndokwa East and Orerokpe in Ethiope East Local Government Areas of Delta to sensitise rice farmers to tap into the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor-Borrowers Programme.
He said that the processing plant, when established would not only support the farmers but create jobs for youths and women in the state.
He said that plans were also being worked out to ensure that meeting of all rice farmers in the southern geo-political zone hold in Asaba to expose members to best practices and opportunities in the anchor borrowers programme.
He described the program as a cashless system designed for members to key in and get loans from the CBN following the due process with commitment to repay the loan at three installments within 18 months period.
He said that capturing of members and mapping out of farm lands would soon commence in the state.
He added that all accredited members of RIFAN would be incorporated to benefit from the loan.
Atho said that RIFAN was set up to unite all members to benefit from the available resources for rice farmers, calling on members to organise themselves into cooperatives of not less than 10 and not more than 20 members.
According to the national officer, the programme will not give any member cash but items will be offfered the farmers.
“All that is required of a registered (Captured) member is personal details; name, Bank Verification Number (BVN), farm location, LGA, among others.
“In this programme, we don’t give cash and we do not clear land for farmers but RIFAN will supply the loan in materials such as paddy rice, water pumps and associated materials, fertilisers and chemicals.
“RIFAN will also provide tractors with all its complements, plough, harrow and plant the rice seedlings and offtake the produce from the farmers at harvest,” he said.
He charged the members to close ranks and work in unity and peace to achieve success.
He said that the loan materials would only be given to those with biometric cards captured for the programme.
He thanked HRM Patrick Iliromah of Ibrede, Ndokwa East LGA for donating a vast area of land for the programme.
He said that the only way of empowering people particularly the youths was in agriculture where the vacancies exist at all time.
Earlier the State RIFAN Chairman, Mr Anthony Umunna, said that the state was ready to distribute some bags of paddy rice and fertilisers to rice farmers in the state.
According to him the biometric capturing of the farmers was ongoing but was terminated midway due to the electioneering process.
“But the exercise will soon being to enable those who have not being captured register to enable them benefit from the inputs distributions in the state.
” We have received 600 bags of fetilisers have been received and about 200 bags of paddy rice for distribution to farmers in the state under the CBN-Anchor Borrowers programme in the state.
“Only those with biometric cards will be allowed to participate in the Anchor programme and be giving the paddy rice and the fertilisers when we flag off distribution”.
Responding, HRM Iliromah, thanked the national officer of RIFAN for rekindling the hope of rice farmers in the programme and prayed for its to be sustained.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that members drawn from almost the LGAs in the state were in attendance at Orerokpe for the meeting. (NAN)