The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has revealed that it has disbursed the sum of N791 billion to more than 3 million farmers across the 36 states of the Federation, under its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
This is part of the apex bank’s effort towards diversification of the economy and assisting farmers with the provision of farm inputs and cash to smallholder farmers.
This disclosure was made by CBN’s Director of Development Finance Department, Mr Yusuf Yila, on Friday in Abuja, during an interaction with the press.
According to NAN, Yila said the apex bank had reduced the interest rate on the loan from 9% to 5%, to encourage more farmers to have access to the credit.
He said the programme had helped participating farmers to improve their yields, especially maize from initial 2 metric tons per hectare, to 5 metric tons per hectare, while that of rice to four metric tons per hectare.
Yela said the bank was also investing in reducing post-harvest losses of farm produce, by encouraging dry season farming, describing it as better in reducing such losses.
He said, “Agriculture works better in the dry season, because you cannot control water during the rainy season, but you can control it during the dry season by using irrigation. The bank is also building silos and irrigation dams to reduce losses.’’
What you should know
- It can be recalled that in November 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari launched the ABP to boost agricultural production and reverse Nigeria’s negative balance of payments on food. Farmers captured under this programme include those cultivating cereals (rice, maize, wheat etc.)
- The programme was intended to create a linkage between Anchor Companies involved in food processing and Small Holder Farmers of the required key agricultural commodities, through commodity associations.
- The ABP is a very progressive scheme that could make Nigeria to become self-sufficient in food production and represents a hedge against food insecurity.