BY MARK ITSIBOR, Abuja
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, said yesterday that the apex bank has spent N1.7 trillion on various agricultural intervention programmes headlined by its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
He gave the hint while speaking as the guest lecturer at the 23rd-25th combined convocation ceremony of the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Benue State with the theme, ‘Jump Starting the Agricultural Revolution: the CBN Experience’.
The Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) was launched in 2015 to improve agricultural output and create jobs, among other objectives.
The CBN governor said a total of 3,067,983 million farmers had benefited from the programmes, with another 1,195,974 million projects financed and guaranteed as part of its development finance programmes.
There are concerns that despite the interventions to boost food production, Nigeria still faces shortage in the food supply chain, resulting in rising food inflation.
The Monetary Policy Committee of the central bank had raised concern over the worsening security situation in many parts of the country, particularly the food producing areas where farmers face frequent attacks from herdsmen and bandits in their farms.
Emefiele said N608.366 billion had been disbursed to 3,038,899 farmers that cultivated 3,776,228 hectares along 21 commodities through 23 participating financial institutions in the 36 states of the federation and the FCT as at March 2021 under its ABP.
Aside the ABP, the CBN’s support for the agricultural sector includes Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (ACGS) that provides 75 percent guarantee for loans given by Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and Micro Finance Banks (MFBs) for agricultural purposes.
“As at March 2021, 1,195,326 projects have been guaranteed valued at N123.580 billion,” Emefiele said.
He added that N696.038 billion had been disbursed to 648 projects as of March 2021 under the bank’s Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS).
According to Emefiele, N19.692 billion was disbursed to 14 beneficiaries under Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS), while another N111.706 billion was disbursed to 29,023 beneficiaries who participate in the Agribusiness Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS).
Emefiele urged the university community and graduating students to leverage on their knowledge and research to come up with similar breakthrough solutions that would improve productivity of the nation’s agricultural sector.
Vice chancellor of the university, Prof Anande Richard Kimbir, said the university had chosen a relevant topic and a very competent lecturer, noting that the CBN plays the critical role of providing the seed money for funding agriculture.
He lamented the situation where terrorism has pushed many farmers away from their farms.
The theme of the convocation is, ‘Enhancing Agricultural Value Chain for National Food Security’.