By Rabiu Sani
Maiduguri – The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says the successful implementation of its Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP), has reduced the prices of food commodity due to bumper harvest recorded by farmers in Borno.
Mr Mahmood Nyako, the Head of Development Finance Office (DFO) of the CBN in Maiduguri, made this known an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday.
NAN reports that ABP is a critical component of the Federal Government’s agriculture transformation agenda designed to encourage crop production and processing to achieve self-sufficiency.
It is also aimed to enhance farmers’ access to fertilisers, seeds, inputs, promote farmer enterprising skills, value addition and create market for the produce.
The programme is being implemented by the CBN in collaboration with the Bank of Agriculture (BOA), Nigeria Agriculture Insurance Corporation (NAIC) and designated agricultural input dealers otherwise called “private anchors”.
Nyako said that over 50, 000 farmers cultivated crops and perishable produce under the ABP in the previous cropping and dry seasons in the state.
He said that the mass participation in the agriculture coupled with the support given to farmers under the programme resulted to higher yields and improvement in the supply of the produce to the market.
“It is the first time in many decades that prices of food items dropped during cropping season.
“Farmers have enough food to feed their families and the market is flooded with grains, the trend has push prices down.
“The programme enhanced the financial inclusion strategy of the apex bank, thereby bringing the un-bank farmers into the banking system.
“Each of the participants must have an account with any of the commercial banks to enable them to access services under the ABP,” he said.
Nyako also revealed that the apex bank had registered private and prime anchors as well as eight farmers associations to distribute inputs and provide support services to the farmers.
He listed the associations to include the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN); Maize Association of Nigeria (MAN), Northeast Commodity Association of Nigeria (NECAS) and Sorghum Associations.
Others are Cotton Farmers Association of Nigeria (COFMAN), National Cotton Processors Association of Nigeria (NACOTPAN) and Sesame Associations, among others.
The officer explained that farmers received fertilisers, seeds, chemicals, knap sack, sprayers and money for farm labour under the programme.
“NECAS and MAN have also supplied 15 tractors to enhance access to tractor services to framers in the state.
“The apex bank also supported anchor clients to set up rice and feed mills.
“KALEF Ventures has so far established a rice mill at Jere, while Elbaton and Koila mills will soon commence operation.
“The idea is to finance the whole value chain in agriculture to encourage productivity, enhance farmer enterprising skills, value addition and create market for the produce”.
Nyako said that about 70, 000 farmers and businesses were targeted in 2019 to participate in the APB and other programmes initiated by the apex bank.
He said that this was to accelerate agricultural activities and encourage development of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMSEs) in the state.
He said that the bank had concluded arrangements to commenced distribution of fertilisers and inputs to farmers for dry season activities in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that market survey at Gamboru market showed that a 50kg bag of local rice is sold at N16, 000 as against its old prices of N17, 000.
The price of maize also dropped as a 50kg bag is sold for N4, 600 as against N6, 000, sold within the same period in 2018.