The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) disclosed that over N190 billion has been disbursed to more than 1.1 million smallholder farmers through the Anchor Borrowers Programme.
This was revealed by the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, yesterday, when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions to be screened for reappointment as Governor.
Defending his accomplishments during his first term in office, Emefiele stated the following;
“The results are there to see that as a result of our Anchor Borrowers Programme where we have disbursed over N190 billion to over 1.1 million smallholder farmers, cultivating over 1.3 million hectares of land, that we need to do more of this.”
The CBN Chief also stated that the Government’s Anchor Borrowers Programme has made it possible for the masses to access credit, generate employment and boost economic activity amongst our rural population.
“SO, WE FROM THE CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA FROM THE MONETARY POLICY SIDE, HAVE COME TO THE REALISATION THAT USING THE INSTRUMENTALITY OF THE ANCHOR BORROWERS PROGRAMME WHERE ACCESS TO CREDIT IS BEING PROVIDED TO OUR MASSES ALL OVER THE COUNTRY, THAT IT WILL BE A WAY TO GENERATE EMPLOYMENT AND BOOST ECONOMIC ACTIVITY AMONGST OUR RURAL POPULATION.”
Furthermore, he said that as part of the CBN‘s statutory responsibilities, it will continue to ensure that funds are available at a low interest rate, in order to guarantee easy accessibility to credit facilities by Nigerians.
An economy in distress – The CBN Governor further stated that the economy is not measuring up when compared to the other countries of the world, especially those in Asia. According to him, the level of development recorded in Nigeria over the last 50 years has been unimpressive.
“I went to one Asian country, I entered the country happy but I came out of the country sadly. Sad because I could see the level of development that this country has achieved over the last 50 years.
“And I cast my mind back and look at my country, Nigeria that what have we achieved? This is what gives me the push that at my age of 57, I saw this country when it was good.”
However, the CBN boss is optimistic that the monetary authority will do everything possible to accomplish its policy mandate.
“I am looking at the country today and I am saying I don’t want to say it is bad but I want to say that we have a lot of work to do; because the country has no doubt receded somewhat.
So from our side in the monetary policy, we will do everything possible to ensure that with the mandate that is bestowed on us, we will pull this country forward.”
Quick Take on ABP: The Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2015, and was intended to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in the processing and smallholder farmers (SHFs) of the required key agricultural commodities. Other objectives include:
- Increase banks’ financing to the agricultural sector
- Reduce agricultural commodity importation and conserve external reserves
- Increase capacity utilization of agricultural firms Create a new generation of farmers/entrepreneurs and employment
- Deepen the cashless policy and financial inclusion
- Reduce the level of poverty among smallholder farmers
- Assist rural smallholder farmers to grow from subsistence to commercial production levels.
Upshots – Although many Nigerians are yet to be considered for loans under the ABP, the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme appears to be one of the most successful programmes under the current administration. For instance, the state’s Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Alh. Abubakar Aliyu, reportedly disclosed last week in Kano that the registered farmers were selected from the 44 Local Government Areas of the state.
“We have no fewer than 27, 000 registered farmers under in our association, who will benefit from the federal government’s anchor borrower programme this planting season. We are lucky to have been considered for the loan because many of our members have yet to repay the loans given to them in the 2017 and 2018 farming season.
“The total package of the facility is n219, 000 per farmer. Each farmer will receive fertiliser, seeds, chemicals, water pump, and cash backing for the payment of labourers”
Nairametrics had earlier reported that ABP has created not less than 2.5 million jobs across the country. Earlier in the year, the CBN reiterated its commitment to increase the funding of the ABP due to the success of the programme in the North-east. The CBN Deputy Director of Development and Finance, Mr. Edwin Ezelu, disclosed at a formal ceremony marking the repayment of the ABP loan given to the North East Commodity Association (NECAS) in Yola State.
At the event, Ezelu, reiterated the commitment of the CBN in ensuring the timely release of funds to farmers, adding that the bank’s resolve was aimed at facilitating the achievement of the federal government’s plans to boost the country’s food security and agricultural value chain.