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CBN loans to ABP farmers hit N976bn – Report

Godwin Emefiele

The Central Bank of Nigeria has disbursed N975.61bn to farmers across the country under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.

Figures obtained from the CBN showed that this amount was released to over 4.52 million smallholder farmers as of February 2022.

The CBN said, “The committee reviewed the performance of the bank’s various interventions to stimulate productivity in manufacturing, industry, agriculture, energy, infrastructure, healthcare, and micro, small and medium enterprises.

“Between January and February 2022, the bank disbursed N29.67bn under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme for the procurement of inputs and cultivation of maize, rice, and wheat, three crops that hitherto were significant concerns of FX demand.

“These disbursements bring the total under the programme to over 4.52 million smallholder farmers, cultivating21 commodities across the country, comes to a total of N975.61bn.”

The CBN had assigned the duty of providing insurance cover and assessing risk of farmers under its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme to underwriting firms.

The Development Finance Department of the CBN disclosed this in its revised Anchor Borrowers’ Programme Guidelines for September 2021.

The guidelines said the underwriters should “provide insurance cover for the projects; ensure timely processing and settlement of claims; provide technical assistance to farmers on insurance policies; and monitor projects for early warning signals or red flags”.

The guidelines further said that they should “render a periodic report on farm conditions; serve as members of the project management team; and carry out any other responsibilities as may be prescribed by the CBN from time to time.”

The revised guidelines addressed current realities and developments in the ABP, with the aim of promoting best practices in the implementation of the programme.

The document recognised the distinctiveness of smallholder farmers, the ABP transactions dynamics and the project management team in the implementation process.

It also adopted measures to ensure the protection of smallholder farmers.

The CBN outlined eligibility criteria and responsibilities of relevant stakeholders under the programme such as the loan limit, interest rate, tenor and agricultural commodities eligible for financing under the programme.

It also outlined the implementation windows and operating models under each window type.

The CBN said the guidelines were aimed at improving the programme’s implementation process and enhancing stakeholders’ participation for the realisation of the ABP’s objective.

It noted that the broad objective of the ABP was to create economic linkages between smallholder farmers and processors with a view to increasing agricultural output and ensuring food price stability.

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