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CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme supports 1.5m farmers in 4yrs

Farmers

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday said the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme has supported more than 1.5 million farmers across the 36 states of Nigeria in cultivating 16 different commodities over 1.4 million hectares of farmland since inception.

The 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 and smallholder farmers (SHFs) of the required key agricultural commodities.

Edward Lametek, deputy governor, corporate service, CBN, disclosed this at the ongoing seminar for finance correspondents and business editors with the theme ‘Galvanizing Development Finance and Monetary Policy for Growth’ organised by the CBN in Owerri, Imo State capital.

He said the programme has also supported the creation of over 2.5 million jobs across the agricultural value chain.

Lametek said the CBN’s intervention in the rice value chain in Kebbi and other rice-producing states across the country increased local rice production from 2.5 million tonnes in 2015 to 5.8 million tonnes in 2017, as well as cotton intervention with the flag-off of input distribution to 150,000 cotton farmers, cultivating 150,000 hectares in 23 states of the federation.

Currently, the cotton planted by these farmers has begun fruiting, while some are ready for harvest and off-take.

“We are currently also paying additional attention to cassava because the commodity has many different uses along the value chain. The value chain has enormous potential for employing over 2 million people in Nigeria,” Lametek said.

There is sufficient evidence of significant reductions in the country’s annual imports bill, and increased non-oil exports.

“Our development finance interventions have helped to bolster agricultural production by removing obstacles faced by smallholder farmers. We have also improved access to markets for farmers by facilitating greater partnership with agro-processors and industrial firms in the sourcing of raw materials,” he said.

Lametek said the CBN’s unconventional monetary policy initiatives have been premised on ensuring credit delivery to critical sectors of the economy. This has informed the directive to Deposit Money Banks to maintain a minimum Loan to Deposit Ratio (LDR) of 65 percent by the end of December 2019. The bank is also creating the necessary eco-system to inculcate a better credit culture among Nigerians.

“Though we adopted unconventional or heterodox monetary policies, they were, however, well thought through and have been yielding significant gains for the Nigerian economy. Noticeably, the GDP recovery in the third quarter of 2017, which has been sustained for nine successive quarters after five consecutive quarters of negative growth,” Lametek said.

Uche Uwaleke, commissioner for finance, Imo State, noted that the CBN has done a lot in terms of developing the economy through its intervention funds.

He said the state has benefitted from the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme and was planning to access the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CAC).

 

HOPE MOSES-ASHIKE & ONYINYE NWACHUKWU, in Owerri