The National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN), Gombe State chapter, says over 6, 994 of its members have benefited from the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) in the state this year.
Mr Abubakar Bappi, the state chairman, NACOTAN, disclosed this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Tuesday in Gombe.
Bappi said introduction of the programme had encouraged cotton cultivation in Gombe, adding that it was hitherto becoming difficult to grow cotton in view of the many challenges farmers faced in accessing money and inputs.
He stated that government’s intervention had boosted cotton profile of Gombe and engaged many youths who had jettisoned cotton farming.
“The last couple of years have not been good for cotton farming in Gombe but with the introduction of ABP in 2015, cotton farming was strengthened in the state.
“Currently, the programme anchors 6,994 farmers in Gombe State, which is huge, although they are farmers who are yet to benefit because they do not have Bank Verification Number (BVN).
“ I believe by next year, farmers under the ABP will increase and with the success we have recorded and will continue to record, Gombe will return to the glory days in cotton farming”, he said.
Bappi commended the Federal Government’s intervention in the agricultural sector, which according to him, had given hope to farmers and created wealth in rural areas.
He, however, lamented that Gombe State was gradually becoming a raw material state for other states, which according to him, had resulted in loss of jobs to state with industries.
“We want government to establish a textile industry in Gombe State because of the availability of the raw materials here.
“This will create more jobs that exist only in the agricultural value chain,’’ he said.
He called on farmers to be proactive and sincere in ensuring that loans given to them were paid in full, adding that such measure would ensure the sustainability of the programme.
He also called on farmers without BVN to get their numbers ready to ensure their eligibility for the programme.
Edited by Abiemwense Moru/