Farmers, processors, others to get N432bn –CBN

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The Central Bank of Nigeria on Thursday said it plans to fund the value chains of nine agricultural commodities to the tune of N432bn in the 2020 wet planting season.

It outlined the commodities to include rice, cotton, oil palm, tomato, cassava, poultry, fish, maize, cocoa and livestock/diary.

Senior officials of the bank disclosed this at a stakeholders’ meeting to review the successes recorded under the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme and the strategies for the 2020 agricultural wet season.

This came as the bank said it would release a framework for the integration of non-interest window in all its intervention programmes.

It named the ABP and the Targeted Credit Facility that would support households and micro, small and medium enterprises affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as the main programmes being considered by the framework.

The Director, Development Finance Department, CBN, Yila Yusuf, explained that the bank’s target for the 2020 planting season was to advance about N432bn to farmers in the value chains of nine commodities.

He said the money would be sent through the designated participating banks, adding that over 1.1 million farmers, cultivating over one million hectares of farmland were expected to benefit from the loans.

Yusuf said the loans would help to produce a collective output of 8.3 million metric tonnes of commodities.

“The bank’s funding of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme for the 2020 season is the highest since the inception of the programme in 2015,” he said.

The Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Isaac Okorafor, said the creation of a non-interest window followed appeals by concerned stakeholders for farmers to be considered for funding under the programme.

He said work had been concluded on the funding document and that the policy would be issued shortly to enable farmers access and benefit from it.

On the Targeted Credit Facility of the bank, Okorafor said the aim of the initiative was to alleviate the impact of the coronavirus on individuals and small businesses.

He said the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had directed the Development Finance Department of the bank as well as the NIRSAL Micro-Finance Bank to fast-track the approval process of loans to help restore businesses and livelihoods.

 Various associations of farmers commended the CBN for its support to the agricultural sector. They noted that the ABP had particularly impacted positively on rice production across the country.

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