COLLABORATION among Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), government as well as private entities has been said to be a critical factor to ensuring food suffiency in the country.
Stakeholders in the agricultural sector of the Nigerian economy believe that a strong collaboration among actors within the Nigerian agriculture value chain which are government and private sector would not only guarantee food sufficiency but would also earn farmers involved financial stability through food production, storage, value addition, availability and exports.
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, recently, said the bank was open to effective partnerships to deliver part of its mandate of attaining food self-sufficiency. He called on Nigerian youths to embrace agriculture, as they have the talent, energy, enthusiasm, technological adoption capacity and all the right drive to revolutionise agricultural production in Nigeria.
“We must meet them halfway to ensure that we provide the enabling environment to make agriculture attractive to them. The Central Bank of Nigeria stands ready to support youths that are willing to engage in agriculture.” He said.
As part of moves to key into the ABP, the Oyo State government in November 2020, sent a N2 billion loan proposal to the state House of Assembly of which the House approved without wasting time.
The governor of the state, Mr Seyi Makinde, in the letter of request stated that the loan will be used to service the ABP for the promotion of youth inclusion in agriculture and will be accessed from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), through Fidelity Bank.
He also hinted that the loan facility would be used to fund cluster farming for maize, cassava, rice and tomatoes, while about 6,000 youths scheduled for participation in the ABP.
Members of the Oyo State House of Assembly agreed that the programme, if well implemented, would assist in engaging youths and would help in reducing the high level of unemployment.
Speaker of the House, Adebo Ogundoyin, said the programme came at the right time, adding that youths interested in agriculture did not have the wherewithal to go into full practice.
He commended the governor’s resolve to improve the agriculture sector as well as encourage youths to participate in farming and agricultural related activities.
As part of efforts to increase cotton production in the country, the CBN and the Ogun State government are into a collaboration on the cultivation of cotton on 4,500 hectares of land.
The state government made this known through a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Kunle Somorin, according to him, the farmland, located in Aworo-Pedepo in Yewa North Local Government Area of the state, was a follow-up to the 10,000 hectares earlier provided to the Cotton Growers Association of Nigeria in the state.
Somorin noted that apart from the partnership with the CBN, which, according to him, would provide the needed fund to the growers, the state government had also entered into synergy with Prime Anchor to link cotton producers to the industrial processors, especially the Joint Cotton Growers Association of Nigeria and Gateway Cotton Processing Limited, in which Ogun owns 20 per cent share.
A smallholder woman farmer in Oyo State, Mrs Elizabeth Arilomo, whose farm is located at Ladanu Village, Ogo-Oluwa Local Government Area of Oyo State, while speaking on the effect of Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) which objective is to create economic linkage between smallholder farmers and reputable large-scale processors with a view to increasing agricultural output and significantly improving capacity utilisation of processors, noted that:”I have heard about Achor Borrowers Programme and some of my colleagues have benefitted from it, but it is quite sad that I have not in any way benefitted.
“The programme is laudable but I am looking forward to a day that I would be a beneficiary, because with the way the programme is structured, I am very sure that in years to come, if it continues, there would be food sufficiency in Nigeria.”
According to him, the participating states are Ondo State (365 cocoa farmers); Edo State (214 farmers); Cross River (74 farmers) Ekiti State (38 farmers); Osun State (193); Kwara State (43); Ogun State (118); Oyo State (156); Delta State (17) and Abia State (4).
The bank has also recognised Ogun as a focal state in its cocoa development initiative.
Ogun State’s recognition came as a result of the strides at ensuring food sufficiency, industrialisation and economic development through agriculture.
Also, Rice farmers in Kwara state, under the aegis of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Kwara state chapter, have said that partnership between the farmers and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the anchor borrowers programme has improved their socio-economic well-being.
Speaking at the flag off of 2021 wet season farming and sales of recovered paddy to millers across North Central zone held in Shonga, Patigi local government area of the state recently, the state coordinator of RIFAN, Mallam Ahmed Saba, said that increased rice production has helped to alleviate poverty among the rice farmers.
“This intervention of the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme with provision of loans to farmers had improved rice production locally and has been a source of blessings to farmers, especially rice farmers in the state. Right from inceptions of the scheme, this year’s output even surprised us as it has helped to alleviate poverty. A lot of people that participated in the scheme benefited a lot. The recent prices of paddy rice is high now in the market and it’s the rice farmers that are making the money from sale of the paddy to buyers. Thus, many are encouraged to go into rice farming and are making good money.
“300,000 metric tonnes was produced at the end of last farming season in Kwara state. The people involved in the production are members of RIFAN and independent rice producers in the state.
“Rice production has increased in Kwara state with the introduction of anchor borrower programme as many people like civil servants, as well as people in private sectors have come into rice farming. So many subsistence farmers are now commercial farmers in the state” he said.
Also speaking at the event, CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said that at least 3.8 million farmers have been empowered through the federal government anchor borrowers programme across the country.
Represented by the CBN Development Finance Department official, Dr. Olabimtan Adebowale, the CBN governor said that the programme has also created about 10million jobs for the youths both directly and indirectly.
He said that the apex bank is pumping funds into agricultural sector to stabilize prices of food items in the markets and appealed to rice farmers to ensure repayment of loans provided for them to allow for its sustainability.
“For sustainability of this anchor borrowers programme, repayment of loan is key component of the scheme. If you fail to repay in this season, you would have shortchanged those that will be taking part in the following year. Repayment does not only ensure sustainability of the programme, it also creates inclusion. We want to do more even the governor is willing to go further as long as there is assurance that repayment will be guaranteed. You have not seen enough from the governor.
“Our children should see agriculture as a viable business. We shouldn’t allow Chinese, Indians and others to do agriculture for us. We should create jobs for our children and that is what we are preaching. Let’s create jobs for ourselves and let us eat what we produce and produce what we eat. That is what the CBN is saying”, he said.
In his address on the occasion, Govenor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara state, represented by his Technical Assistant on Agriculture, Abdulqowiy Olododo, said the programme is in line with his administration’s vision of supporting farmers to ensure food sufficiency.