About 220,000 farmers in 17 states of Nigeria are participating in the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Governor Godwin Emefiele, disclosed.
He said this on Thursday in Jibia, Katsina State at the inauguration of the 2016/2017 Dry Season Farming.
Emefiele said 246,837 hectares had so far been cultivated under the programme.
He said the programme was aimed at supporting farmers with agricultural inputs to enhance productivity, create job opportunities and diversify the country’s economy.
He said CBN had linked more than 120,000 rice and wheat farmers with reputable millers.
The governor, represented by the Director, Development Finance, Mr Olaitan Mudashir, said the millers had adequate capacity to meet the country’s rice needs.
According to him, CBN has set aside some funds from the N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Funds (MSMEDF) in furtherance of the Anchor Borrowers Programme.
He added that beneficiaries would pay 9 per cent interest.
Emefiele revealed that the CBN would also empower at least 600,000 farmers in the rice, oil palm, wheat, cotton and fish value chains in the next five years.
In his remark, the Managing Director, Bank of Agriculture (BOA), Prof. Danbala Danju, said that the bank had so far disbursed N22 billion as loan to farmers to boost productivity and ensure food security in the country.
Danju, represented by Alhaji Muhammad Babangida, said the bank would continue to support farmers with loans to encourage all-year-round farming in the country.
He said all-year-round farming would create job opportunities and diversify the country’s economy.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Anchor Borrowers Programme was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in Kebbi State in 2015, with a view to boosting rice and wheat production in the country