CBN Anchor Borrowers Scheme Boosts Input For Anambra Farmers

CBN, Anchor Borrowers Scheme, 683 Farmers The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is boosting input for farmers in Anambra State with over 150 million Naira worth of improved 50kg rice seedlings, pesticides and cash.

This disbursement under the Anchor Borrowers Programme of the apex bank has brought joy to the 683 Rice Farmers from eight Local Government Areas in the south-east state who are beneficiaries of the scheme.

The intervention which has also been disbursed to farmers in other States is aimed at repositioning agriculture in the scheme of things in Nigeria.

According to the Controller of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Awka Branch, Mr Chuks Sokari, “the programme will yield results in the areas of job creation on a massive scale, improve local food production, and help conserve the scarce foreign reserves”.

The Central Bank of Nigeria in funding the entire programme has earmarked 40 Billion Naira from the 220 Billion Naira Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development fund, for farmers across the nation at a single digit rate of nine per cent.

This is part of the government strategy to diversify the nation’s economy away from crude oil to other sectors, with agriculture prioritised.

The happy farmers converged on the ADP premises in Awka, to be part of the initiative that would help to significantly improve their output in rice production.

The disbursement of cash, improved seedlings and pesticides were the major highlights of the programme, as farmers were ready to cue into the programme that brings credit facility to their doorsteps.

Addressing the farmers, the Awka Branch Controller of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Chuks Sokari, highlighted that Anambra State had taken a bold step by leading in the export of vegetables to Europe.

He said he was proud of their efforts and expressed his believe that with abundant manpower, creative ingenuity and favorable climate, the latest scheme would indeed help the farmers.

The Micro Finance Coordinator for the Rural Finance Institution Building Programme, RUFFIN, Mr Ibrahim Adamu, said that prior to that time, assessing credit facility for farmers had been very difficult but the Anchor Borrowers Programme of the CBN now provides financial succor to agriculture in Nigeria.

Although the cash disbursement is not a grant but a loan in which payment will commence after five months of receipt, the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mechanisation, Processing, and Export, Mr Afam Mbanefo, is optimistic that the farmers will reciprocate the kind gesture extended to them.

Some beneficiaries expressed their feelings over the CBN support, while some others wished that the distribution of the improved seedlings and chemicals had come earlier, as rice cultivation begins in March.

Generally, except for those that cultivate all year round, the Commissioner for Agriculture appealed to the CBN to extend their financial support to other aspects of agriculture other than rice production.

IFAD to Extend RUFIN Program Beyond 2017

2017, Agriculture, IFAD, RUFIN, Rural Financing, International Fund For Agricultural DevelopmentBeneficiaries of the Rural Financing Programe of the International Fund For Agricultural Development in Benue state North Central Nigeria, have appealed for an extension of the program beyond 2017.

They made the call when officials of the Federal Ministry Of Agriculture and IFAD representatives visited Logor Council Area to assess how well the farmers have utilized the funding.

The IFAD officials were also in Lagos state where they visited the Epe and Ikorodu Local Government Areas.

Coordinator of RUFIN Lagos state, Funmi Bello said the Lagos State Government is planning to extend the program even if IFAD is not continuing. “We have to mentor these people to a certain stage” She added.

The 7-year program which was introduced in 2010 is being sponsored by the International Fund For Agricultural Development, in partnership with the government.

It’s main aim is to reduce poverty in rural areas by providing access to financial services for poor households especially women, the physically challenged and the youth.

Pleased With Results

So far, officials of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture are pleased with the results. Speaking with the Senior Technology Assistant to the Minister Of Agriculture, Autta Appeh, he says: “Our aim is to bring life back to the village and to do that, is to provide access to financing and elevate both the youth, women and ageing farmers”

Farm land and farm produce were among some of the rewards for the local farmers. A Beneficiary Gloria Nguto, in the Logor Local Government also expresses her joy while speaking with Channels Television, in her words, “With the first money they gave us, we started trading shoes, bags and other things.

“Even as we are not in the town, they are encouraging us to produce more so that we will not sit idle and eat, depend on our husbands or our children”

Another beneficiary Adebimpe Olawale said: “We started very small but now at least I can boast that I am somebody”

However, she admits that there have been challenges along the way, she opined that “the government should bring the interest down to 2% per annum where farmers can have real access and have gains from their farms, they will have something to remain for themselves and still have something to pay back”.

Microfinance expert, Adamu Ibrahim says, “What RUFIN has done in collaboration with Central Bank is to bring in intervention funds specifically targeted at a particular segment of the market to bring down the cost of interest”

An IFAD official expressed that RUFIN has thus far been the best pilot program that has been put together. “It has given us a platform to be able to build upon, from this we are building a bigger basket”, he added.

According to IFAD, 18,000 farmer groups have been able to access micro- finance through the RUFIN program.