Tuesday 17 November 2015

Federal Govt launch support programme for rice farmers

Rice Farm
President Muhammadu Buhari will, today, formally launch the ‘Anchor Borrowers’ Programme’ (ABP) for rice farmers in Kebbi state.

The programme was design to assist small scale farmers to increase the production and supply of feedstock to agro-processors.

The programme is an initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria aimed at creating an Ecosystem to link out-growers (Small Holder Farmers) to local processors, increase banks’ financing to the agricultural sector enhance capacity utilisation of agricultural firms involved in the production of identified commodities and as well as the productivity and incomes of farmers.

The policy document of the programme also indicated that the anchor borrowers’ programme will build capacity of banks in agricultural lending to farmers and entrepreneurs in the value chain, reduce commodity importation. It will also reduce the level of poverty among small holder farmers and create jobs while assisting rural small-holder farmers to grow from subsistence to commercial production levels.

On the modalities for implementation, the programme is hinged on three pronged approach namely the out-grower support programme; training of farmers, extension workers and banks; and risk mitigation.

Under the out-grower support programme intervention, the CBN had set aside the sum of N20 billion from the N220.0 billion micro, small and medium enterprises development fund (MSMEDF) for farmers at a single-digit interest rate of nine per cent. On the other hand, the training scheme involves customised value-chain finance modules for banks and an “agribusiness” training protocol for farmers that is consistent with the aspiration of the anchor borrowers’ programme; while the risk mitigation component is a comprehensive strategy incorporated into the model.

A statement explained that some dynamic features of this new agricultural initiative include the Identification and selection of small holder farmers, grouping of out-growers into viable cooperatives/clusters, registration of the cooperatives, determination of the economics of selection and engagement of banks/ insurance companies, capacity building of out-growers, banks’ staff and extension agents.

Credit: ThisDay

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