06 January 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), yesterday, said the objective of the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) was to create an economic linkage between smallholders and reputable large scale processors with a view to increasing agricultural output and significantly improving capacity utilisation of processors.
In the guidelines, posted on its website, the apex bank said also that the aim of the programme was to increase banks’ financing to the agricultural sector, reduce agricultural commodity importation and conserve external reserves.
It will equally increase capacity utilisation of agricultural firms as well as create a new generation of farmers/entrepreneurs and employment.
Also, it will deepen the cashless policy and financial inclusion, reduce the level of poverty among smallholder farmers and assist rural peasant farmers to grow from subsistence to commercial production levels.
According to CBN, the targeted agricultural commodities include, cereals (rice, maize, wheat etc.), cotton, roots and tubers (cassava, potatoes, yam, ginger among others), sugarcane, tree crops (oil palm, cocoa, rubber etc.), legumes (soybean, sesame seed, cowpea etc.), tomato, livestock (fish, poultry, ruminants).
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in line with its developmental functions established the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
The programme which was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 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 programme thrust of the ABP is 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 agroprocessor, the Anchor who pays the cash equivalent to the farmer’s account.
“The programme evolved from the consultations with stakeholders comprising Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, State governors, millers of agricultural produce, and smallholder farmers 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 apex bank said.
Meanwhile, about 10,000 youths and other small scale farmers are set to benefit from the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Programme, in Ogun state.
The State Coordinator and Special Assistant to the Governor on Agriculture, Mr Tosin Ademuyiwa, disclosed this in Abeokuta, the state capital, at the flag-off of the programme.
He explained that the programme was aimed at creating employment for youths and boosting agricultural production for food security in the State.
It would give financial support to youths and other small scale farmers to boost cassava, rice and maize production.
Furthermore, he stated that attention would also be given to fishery and poultry farming, while citizens across the 20 Local Government areas and 57 local council development areas of the state would benefit from it.
While admonishing youths in the State to Key into the opportunities offered by the programme to earn a living, Mr Ademuyiwa noted that about 1000 youths have recently shown interest to explore the opportunities.
He then advised others who were interested in taking advantage of the programme to forward their applications to the Ministry of Agriculture, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta for enrollment.
The Coordinator, Ogun State Youth in Agric Business, Comrade Olugbenga Ige, thanked the state government and the CBN for the initiative, assuring that his colleagues would make use of the opportunity to be self-employed and help in diversifying the nation’s economy.