By Muhammad Nasir Bashir
Dutse – No fewer than 850,000 Small Holder Farmers (SHFs) have benefited from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s N160 billion under its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (APB) in the last three years, CBN governor, Mr Godwin Emefele, says.
Emefele made the disclosure at a Town Hall meeting on Agriculture on Monday in Dutse, Jigawa.
The CBN governor, who was represented by Mr Olatude Akande, said that the 850,000 SHFs benefited from the apex bank APB’s programme from November 2015 till date.
“In the past five years, the CBN has achieved a lot in agriculture, not restricted to rice production but spread over targeted 15 different commodities.
“For instance, since the launch of ABP in November 2015, over 850,000 small holder farmers have benefited from N160 billion disbursed under the programme,” Emefele said.
The Minister of State, Trade and Investment, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar said that the ministry was doing its best to create enabling environment for farmers to export their farm produce.
The minister however urged farmers to observe the standardisation policy by ensuring that their produces were properly inspected before forwarding them for exportation.
“I urge our farmers to ensure that their produces are inspected and free from any form of infection because when a produce is rejected, it takes a very long time to get accepted back.
“Therefore, we must be very careful with what we export in terms of standardisation,” she advised.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that CBN in line with its developmental function established the ABP.
The Programme, which was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on Nov. 17, 2015, is intended to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in the processing and Small Holder Farmers (SHFs) of the required key agricultural commodities.
The thrust of the ABP is for the provision of farm inputs in kind and cash for farm labour to small holder farmers to boost production of these commodities, stabilise inputs supply to agro processors and address the country’s negative balance of payments on food.
At harvest, the SHF supplies his/her produce to the Agro-processor (Anchor) who pays the cash equivalent to the farmer’s account.
The programme evolved from the consultations with stakeholders comprising Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, state governors, millers of agricultural produce, and SHFs.
Its aim is to boost agricultural production and non-oil exports in the face of unpredictable crude oil prices and its resultant effect on the revenue profile of Nigeria.
The broad objective of the ABP is to create economic linkage between smallholder farmers and reputable large-scale processors with a view to increasing agricultural output and significantly improve capacity utilization of processors.
It is also meant to reduce agricultural commodity importation and conserve external reserves, increase capacity utilisation of agricultural firms, create new generation of farmers/entrepreneurs and unemployment.
Other objectives include increase banks’ financing to the agricultural sector, to deepen the cashless policy and financial inclusion, reduce, the level of poverty among SHFs and rural smallholder farmers to grow from subsistence to commercial production levels.
The identified targeted commodities under the program included; Cereals (Rice, Maize and Wheat), Roots and Tubers (Cassava, Potatoes, Yam and Ginger) and Sugarcane.
Tree crops (Oil Palm, Cocoa and Rubber), Legumes (Soya Beans, Sesame Seed and Cowpea); Tomato and Livestocks (Fish, Poultry and Ruminants).