The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has commenced the process to recover all loans granted under the Federal Government’s flagship agricultural scheme, the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.
The Bank said the loan recovery drive would be in partnership with the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) beginning in Gombe state.
The Head of CBN’s Development and Finance Office in Gombe, Abdullahi Baba-Isa, who disclosed this on Saturday said the Federal Government’s intervention in rice farming was yielding positive results.
He said the CBN’s schemes not only helped to crash the price of rice in the country, it also helped in creating jobs and boost Nigeria’s local capacity to meet demand.
He said the CBN aims to maximize Nigeria’s potential in rice production as a measure toward conserving external reserves and discouraging importation.
“The Anchor Borrowers’ Programme has made a lot of positive impact on our economy, output and even the national food security system has improved,” he said.
He also appealed to farmers to continue to repay their loans to encourage the government to accommodate more farmers in the programme in 2022.
RIFAN President, Aminu Goronyo, said that CBN’s intervention was creating wealth for smallholder farmers in the state and the country, saying many farmers would no longer need loans as they would have been empowered beyond “borrowing.”
RIFAN also urged its members to speedily repay their loans, adding that efforts had already been concluded ahead of the commencement of the dry season farming in the state.
Under its Unity Bank/RIFAN Partnership, the CBN said almost 30,000 bags of paddy rice were recovered during the launch, adding that with the intervention in 2021, about 14,000 rice farmers were supported for the dry season phase and 28,000, for the wet season farming.
The Anchor Borrowers’ Programme was established with the support of the CBN with the financing of more than N300 billion disbursed to over 3.1 million smallholder farmers of 21 different commodities, including rice, wheat, maize, cotton, cassava, poultry, soybeans, groundnut and fish, cultivating over 3.8 million hectares of farmland.
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