The Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, ABP, initiated by the Central Bank of Nigeria has become a major driving source in the country’s agricultural production since November 2015 when it was established.
ABP creates a medium between anchor companies and small holders’ farmers (SMF) with the aim of providing farm inputs in both kind and cash to small holders’ farmers in groups of five to twenty.
About N45.5 billion has been released through 13 Participating Financial Institutions in respect of over 218,000 farmers cultivating nine commodities across 30 States, with those benefitting paying over N7billion of their loan.
So far, Rice production has been the highest beneficiary of the ABP with tremendous increase in production and a consequent reduction in imports. The success of the scheme in rice production has led to a clamour for its extension to other crops.
CBN seem to have heeded to that call.
Recently, the Central Bank has announced, through its Acting Director in charge of Corporate Communications Department (CCD) at the Bank, Isaac Okorafor, a decision to expand the scheme with the view of consolidating on the gains of the ABP and reaching more deserving small holder farmers nationwide.
According to him, “the CBN is forming these partnerships to further ramp up domestic production of identified commodities by leveraging the existing organized structures of the agricultural associations nationwide, thereby providing huge economics of scale in the implementation of the programme.”
Mr. Okorafor said the strategic partnership had begun to yield results with the commencement of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) Anchor Borrowers’ Programme with the Bank of Agriculture where about 300,000 rice farmers across 20 States would be supported under the ABP during the upcoming dry season cultivation, adding that an additional two million metric tonnes of paddy rice was expected to be produced under the dedicated RIFAN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.
He also said that the strategic partnership with RIFAN was in tandem with the Federal Government’s agenda for Nigeria to be self-sufficient in rice production in the future.
Okorafor further announced that all registered agricultural commodity associations could key into this strategic partnership by simply approaching any of the Participating Financial Institutions (PFI) collaborating with the CBN in the implementation of the programme.
The ABP has so far achieved success in terms of outreach and coverage, making it one of the most successful development finance interventions of the CBN.