Omodele Adigun; Uche Usim, Abuja
Four hundred thousand 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, saying the 12 crops include rice, soybeans, maize, palm produce, cotton, and 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 9 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, the Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, 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 CBN within five days of receipt of loan term sheets from CBN are treated.
It also assured that as always, farmers under the NIRSAL PFI window of the CBN ABP, who comply with the conditions precedent to drawdowns 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 (PM-ROs) nationwide…”