Post by Trade Forum on Sept 9, 2020 13:02:57 GMT 1
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed that it has reserved about N432 billion to fund the cultivation of nine agro-commodities for the 2020 wet planting season. The commodities are rice, cassava, maize, cotton, oil palm, cowpea, livestock, poultry, and fish.
CBN disclosed this at a stakeholders’ meeting where it reviewed the successes recorded under its Anchor Borrower’s Programme (ABP), and the strategies for the 2020 agricultural wet season. Bank officials explained that the fund was part of its plans to build on the successes recorded under the ABP to boost food production and ensure food sufficiency.
Director of the Development Finance Department, Yila Yusuf, noted that over 1.1 million farmers cultivating over one million hectares of farmland were expected to benefit from the loans. Yusuf added that the loan will in turn help to produce a collective output of 8.3 million metric tons.
He also explained that the fund, with focus on the 2020 wet season, seeks to ensure the provision of improved seeds that will incentivise the farmers to return to their farms. He said, “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.
“Proposed funding for the nine commodities was a significant move by the CBN, considering the successes recorded in the 2019 season that contributed to shielding Nigeria from any food shortage, particularly rice.
“Despite the impact of the global lockdown, major producing countries of staples, such as rice, closed their silos and halted the export of those products from the shores of their respective countries.”
Yusuf noted that the CBN’s funding of the ABP for the 2020 season was the highest since the inception of the programme in 2015.
CBN spokesperson, Isaac Okorafor, who represented the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, in his remarks disclosed that the creation of a non-interest window will come after, following appeals by concerned interest groups for farmers across the country.He said arrangements had been concluded on the funding document, adding that a document outlining how farmers would apply for the funding based on respective categories will be released.
“This [the fund] is to spur farmers along select crop value chains to prevent the country from sliding into a recession, as is currently being experienced in some major economies of the world.” He added. On the Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) of the Bank, Okorafor further explained that it was determined to push the economy to ensure that Nigeria does not experience consecutive quarters of negative growth.
TCN is an Initiative of the CBN aimed at alleviating the impact of the coronavirus on individuals and small businesses.
“The CBN Governor had directed the Development Finance Department as well as the NIRSAL Micro-Finance Bank (NMFB) to fast-track the approval process of loans to help restore businesses and livelihoods” He added.
Representatives of commodity associations that attended the meeting include: Presidents of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Aminu Goronyo; National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN), Anibe Achimugu; Maize Association of Nigeria, Bello Abubakar, and the Maize Growers, Processors, and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPMAN), Edwin Uche.