The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has released its guidelines for participation of stakeholders in the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
The guidelines which were displayed in the apex bank’s website Wednesday, set out the roles, modalities and penalties for the participants of the programmes which includes the farmers and the companies involved in processing of farmers’ produce and financial institutions.
The ANP was launched in 2015 by President Muhammadu Buhari to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in processing farm produce, Small Holder farmers and finance bodies that will be involved in disbursing funds from the N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF).
According to the CBN, 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.
The 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 and increase banks’ financing to the agricultural sector, reduce agricultural commodity importation and conserve external reserves.
The ABP also aims to 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 and assist rural smallholder farmers to grow from subsistence to commercial production levels.
The loan is targeted at smallholder farmers engaged in the production of identified commodities across the country and the farmers are expected to be in groups/cooperative(s) of between 5 and 20 for ease of administration.