The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has concluded plan to fund the value chains of nine commodities to the tune of N432 billion in the 2020 wet season.
Yila Yusuf, the Director, Development Finance Department of the CBN, disclosed this at a stakeholder meeting in Abuja on Thursday.
Mr Yusuf disclosed that about 1.1 million farmers, cultivating over one million hectares of farmland, were expected to benefit from the loans that would help to produce a collective output of 8.3 million metric tons.
According to him, the focus for the 2020 wet season is to ensure the provision of improved seeds to incentivize the farmers to return to their farms.
He further stated that the CBN adopted the value chain approach across all the commodities to ensure that every player along the entire value chain, from the farmers through to the processors, was financed.
Mr Yusuf said the Bank’s funding of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, ABP, for the 2020 season was the highest since the inception of the programme in 2015.
The director explained that this was quite significant considering the successes recorded in the 2019 season that contributed to shielding Nigeria from any food shortage, particularly rice, in the heat of the global lockdown.
He stated that during the lockdown, some major producing countries of staples, such as rice, closed their silos and halted the export of such produce from the shores of their respective countries.
The CBN’s Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, said the meeting was to review the successes recorded under the Anchor Borrowers Programme, ABP, and the strategies for the 2020 agricultural wet season.
According to him, the creation of a non-interest window followed appeals by concerned stakeholders for farmers across the country to also be considered for funding under the window.
He also disclosed that work had been concluded on the funding document, and the policy would be issued shortly, outlining how farmers under the category could apply and benefit from the agricultural programmes of the CBN.
The director said the Bank, in the 2020 agricultural wet season, was committed to aggressively fund its agricultural programmes and spur farmers along selected crop value chains.
He said this was to prevent the country from sliding into a recession, as is currently being experienced in some major economies of the world.
Mr Okorafor also spoke on the Targeted Credit Facility, TCF, of the Bank, aimed at alleviating the impact of the coronavirus on individuals and small businesses.
He said that the Bank was determined to push the economy to ensure Nigeria did not experience consecutive quarters of negative growth.
He said that the Development Finance Department of the Bank as well as the NIRSAL Micro-Finance Bank, NMFB, had been directed to fast-track the approval process of loans, which were to help restore businesses and livelihoods.
In attendance were Presidents of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN, Aminu Goronyo; and National Cotton Association of Nigeria, NACOTAN, Anibe Achimugu.
Those of Maize Association of Nigeria, MAN, Maize Association of Nigeria, MAAN, Bello Abubakar; and Maize Growers, Processors, and Marketers Association of Nigeria, MAGPMAN, Dr Edwin Uche, were also present.