The Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), has disclosed that as at October 2018, a total number of 862,069 farmers cultivating about 835,239 hectares, across 16 different commodities, have so far benefited from its Anchor Borrowers programme, which has generated 2,502,675 jobs across the country.
This is just as it announced that in the agriculture sector, the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), has ensured that Nigeria emerged from being a net importer of rice to becoming a major producer of rice, supplying key markets in neighboring countries.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele made these disclosures in Lagos, at the 2018 Chartered Institute of Banker’s Dinner on Friday, while speaking on, “Strengthening the Economic Recovery Process in Nigeria”.
It is in light of the success of the Anchor Borrowers Programme with regards to cultivation of rice and maize, that the Monetary Policy Committee in its last meeting on the 21st of November 2018 recommended that the Anchor Borrowers program be applied to other areas such as palm oil, tomatoes and fisheries.
According to the Governor, “Our efforts at supporting small scale farmers and SMEs is based on our awareness of the critical role they can play in supporting our economic recovery and growth, as well as in creating job opportunities for millions of Nigerians.
“So far, the CBN has through its Micro Small and Medium Enterprises fund disbursed over N100Billion to the MSME sector, but we still feel a lot can be done”, he said.
He further noted that under the auspices of the Bankers Committee, the sum of over N60 billion has so far been set aside under the AGSMIES fund to fund Micro Small and Medium enterprise businesses in the Agriculture and Manufacturing sectors of the economy.
“The CBN recognizes that the greatest challenge confronting MSME’s and local farmers is access to credit, and that to unlock the growth potentials in our country; these groups must access funding seamlessly.
“In response to this challenge, the CBN will in due course take action that will directly bring Banking services to the rural communities through the licensing of a national Micro Finance Bank, which will have a presence in all local governments in Nigeria, thereby supporting the channeling of credit to our rural communities”, the CBN Governor added.
He stated also, that the Bank will continue to explore ways, in partnering with the fiscal authorities, on how it can best provide farmers and SMES with the support they need to expand their operations.