In line with its inclusive drive to grow the economy, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Programmes (ABP) has targeted more agricultural commodities.
This was contained in a new guideline for the programme released on Wednesday. The targeted commodities of comparative advantage include but not limited to: Cereals (Rice, Maize, wheat etc.) Cotton.
Others are, Roots and Tubers (Cassava, Potatoes, Yam, Ginger etc.) Sugarcane, Tree crops (Oil palm, Cocoa, Rubber etc.) Legumes (Soybean, Sesame seed, Cowpea etc.) Tomato, Livestock (Fish, Poultry, Ruminants etc.) Any other commodity that will be introduced by the CBN from time to time.
According to a statement by the apex bank “The loan shall be targeted at Small Holder Farmers (SHF) engaged in the production of above identified commodities across the country. The Farmers should be in groups/cooperative(s) of between 5 and 20 for ease of administration. The broad objective of the ABP is to create economic linkage between smallholder farmers and reputable large scale processors with a view to increasing agricultural output and significantly improving capacity utilization of processors.
Other objectives include, Increase banks’ financing to the agricultural sector, Reduce agricultural commodity importation and conserve external reserves. Increase capacity utilization of agricultural firms, Create new generation of farmers/entrepreneurs and employment, Deepen the cashless policy and financial inclusion, Reduce the level of poverty among smallholder farmers, Assist rural smallholder farmers to grow from subsistence to commercial production levels”.
The fund shall be provided from the N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF). Loan amount for each SHF shall be arrived upon from the economics of production agreed with stakeholders. Interest rate under the ABP shall be guided by the rate on the N220 billion MSMEDF, which is currently at 9% p.a (all inclusive, pre and post disbursement).
The PFIs shall access at 2% from the CBN and lend at a maximum of 9% p.a. The tenor of loans under the ABP shall be the gestation period of the identified commodities. Loans granted to the SHFs shall be repaid with the harvested produce that shall be mandatorily delivered to the Anchor at designated collection center in line with the provisions of the Agreement signed. The produce to be delivered must cover the loan principal and interest. The loan shall be disbursed through any of these PFIs, Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and Microfinance Banks (MFBs).
CBN in line with its developmental function established the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme which was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 17, 2015 is intended to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in the processing and small holder farmers of the required key agricultural commodities.
The programme thrust of the ABP is provision of farm inputs in kind and cash for farm labour to small holder farmers to boost production of these commodities, stabilize inputs supply to agro processors and address the country’s negative balance of payments on food. At harvest, the SHF supply his/her produce to the Agro-processor the Anchor who pays the cash equivalent to the farmer’s account.
The Programme evolved from the consultations with stakeholders comprising Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, State Governors, millers of agricultural produce, and smallholder farmers to boost agricultural production and non-oil exports in the face of unpredictable crude oil prices and its resultant effect on the revenue profile of Nigeria.