The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) on Saturday lauded the Council of State for approving one billion dollars to boost agriculture and empower livestock farmers, including the Fulani herdsmen.

The council on Friday, endorsed the one billion dollars to increase agriculture funding from the current 200 million dollars.

The financial assistance to cattle farmers, the council said, was not designed to support the rich livestock producers but movement of the existing herdsmen causing problems and incessant clashes with farmers.

The fund will be disbursed through Anchor Borrower and Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme, CACS Programmes, to encourage diversification of the economy and promote food security.

National Treasurer of RIFAN, Alhaji Sadiq Daware, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yola, the development was “good news to farmers who were now convinced of the present administration’s commitment to diversify the economy through agriculture”.

“We are happy with this development and want to assure government that we will continue to organize our members on how to maximize those opportunities being provided to boost agriculture,” Daware said.

The treasurer who was in Yola to inaugurate the distribution of farm inputs to dry season rice farmers under a special Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) pilot project known as RIFAN/CBN/BOA Model, thanked CBN for the confidence it has in RIFAN.

He urged beneficiaries of various all CBN supported loans to boost rice production to ensure prompt repayment of such loans for sustainability and more bigger opportunities.

Daware noted that the RIFAN/CBN/BOA Model was designed in such a way that only genuine farmers would benefit.

“Under this model, farmers would be provided with the needed inputs instead of cash based on the size of their respective farms.

“A serious farmer’s priority is inputs; through this cashless model we have weeded out political farmers who are after cash,” Daware said.

He also explained that under the model, small scale farmers are not expected to pay five per cent equity share, but only required to deposit N2,000 in their account.

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