Uche Usim, Abuja
About 400, 000 farmers have so far been supported financially and technically to grow 12 crops under the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The initiative, operated through the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) has also created about 1.2 million indirect jobs along the agricultural value chain.
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele made the disclosure at the weekend in Calabar at the flag off of input distribution for 2018 wet season farming done in collaboration with the state government.
Emefiele, who was represented by the apex bank’s spokesman, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, commended Cross River State said the 12 crops include: rice, soya, maize, palm produce, cotton cassava among others.
He advised genuine farmers to key into the technology-driven input distribution system with a view to benefiting from the low interest rate of nine per cent facility.
According to the CBN governor, the biometric capturing which identified farmers to specific farmland through mapping has eliminated the issue of ‘absentee’ or non-practising farmers from benefiting from the inputs and other facilities.
Also speaking, Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, who was represented by the state’s Commissioner for Agriculture, Prof. Egrinya Eneji, reiterated that agriculture remains the channel for sustainable development for Nigeria hence the state government was pragmatic in leveraging the value chain opportunities offered by sector.
With regards to delay in loan disbursements, NIRSAL said farmers’ funds approved by the CBN within five days of receipt of loan term sheets from the CBN are treated.
It also assured that, as always, farmers under the NIRSAL PFI window of the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, who comply with the conditions precedent to drawdown can have access to their credited accounts after meeting such conditions. “This is in line with NIRSAL’s policy stance to always expedite the funds access process of all applicants who have met conditions precedent to draw down.
“As an Agricultural Finance risk management organisation, NIRSAL emphasised that mindful of the various risks associated with yield and repayment capacity of the farmers, it launched the Area Yield Index Insurance – an insurance product tailor-made for farmers and established the Project Monitoring and Remediation Offices (PMROs) nationwide to work closely with farmers throughout the farming cycle to ensure success of its projects, as well as protecting the interest of all verified and bonafide farmers. These additional services are provided to farmers at NIRSAL’s own cost”, the agency said.
On the part of the beneficiaries of the inputs and other facilities under the Bank’s intervention programmes, Mr. Emefiele urged them to take repayment terms seriously as that will go a long way in ensuring sustainability of the programmes.