• Monday, July 15, 2024
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Update: CBN’s anchor borrowers programme supports 1.5m farmers


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday said its Anchor Borrowers programme has supported more than 1.5m farmers across all the 36 States of Nigeria, in cultivating 16 different commodities over 1.4 million hectares of farmland since the inception of the programme.

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, organised by the CBN in Owerri in IMO State.

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

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

He said it was the CBN’s intervention in the rice value chain in Kebbi and other rice-producing states across the country that 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 import bills, 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 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 9 successive quarters after 5 consecutive quarters of negative growth,” Lametek said further.

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

He said the State has benefited from the anchor borrowers programme and its planning to access the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CAC).