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CBN targets 1.1 million farmers with N432 billion for 2020 farming

 The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has budgeted N432bn for 1.1 farmers in 2020 wet season under the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP). This is even as the apex bank revealed plans to integrate non-interest loan window in all its intervention programmes, particularly the ABP and the Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) to support households and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
These were disclosed by the duo of the Bank’s Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor and Yila Yusuf, the Director, Development Finance Department, who jointly represented the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, at a stakeholder meeting on Thursday, to review the successes recorded under the ABP and the strategies for the 2020 agricultural wet season. “We are advancing 432 billon through the banks to the famers in the 2020 wet season across nine different commodities.
“The commodities are: rice, maize, cotton, oil palm, and cowpea. “We are also doing livestock, they are: poultry and fish,” Mr. Yusuf said. He said the impact of the investment will be phenomenal. “For the 2020 wet season, this is the largest Anchor Borrowers Programme we will be doing since 2015 when the programme was launched. “We are looking at having over 1.1 million farmers and they will be farming over 1 million hecters of land. “We are looking at a combined output of over nine different commodities of 8.32 million metric tonnes” he noted, adding that the intervention should create about 5 million jobs down the value chain. On the non-interest loans, he said; “the CBN Governor has directed we create a non interest window especially for the North West and the North East. “We have received several correspondents from concerned citizens especially on the CIVID-19 funds. “In the weeks to come, we will announce a policy on the non-interest loans”, he stated. Okorafor said the Bank, in the 2020 agricultural wet season, was committed to aggressively fund its agricultural programmes and spur farmers along select crop value chains to prevent the country from sliding into a recession, as is currently being experienced in some major economies of the world. Speaking on the Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) of the Bank aimed at alleviating the impact of the coronavirus on individuals and small businesses, Okorafor noted that the Bank was determined to push the economy to ensure Nigeria does not experience consecutive quarters of negative growth. Accordingly, he said that the Governor, Mr. Emefiele, had directed the development finance department of the bank as well as the NIRSAL Micro-Finance Bank (NMFB) to fast-track the approval process of loans, which he stressed were to help restore businesses and livelihoods.

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