The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has targeted about 70, 000 farmers and business under its Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP) in Borno for 2019.
Mr Mahmood Nyako, the Head of Finance Development Office (DFO) of the CBN in Maiduguri, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Maiduguri on Sunday.
Nyako disclosed that the bank had initiated viable programmes to encourage production, transform value chain, enhance financial inclusion and encourage the growth of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs).
He said that the apex bank adopted practical measures to finance the whole value chain to encourage agricultural activities, enhance enterprising skills and specialisation to achieve self-sufficiency.
Nyako listed the programmes to include ABP; Accelerated Agriculture Development Scheme (AADS), Agriculture Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF), and Agri-Business Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS), among others.
He revealed that 52, 008 were expected to participate in the ABP and 500 big holder farmers under ACGSF while 17, 000 youths and businesses would be supported under AADS and AGSMEIS, respectively.
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The official explained that the bank had registered eight farmers' associations, a number of private and prime anchors to provide inputs and other support services to farmers for dry season activities under ABP.
"The bank initiated an N2 billion fund to support up takers under the Paddy Aggregation Scheme (PAS) and Maize Aggregation Scheme (MAS), to set up mills.
"The fund is designed to encourage agricultural processing, value addition and create a market for the produce," he said, adding that an anchor consultant, Kalef Ventures had so far established a rice mill at Jere, while Elbaton and Koila mills would soon commence operation in the state.
Nyako added that about N1.5 billion fund would be provided to the state government to open up 10, 000 hectares of farmlands while the bank provides inputs for distribution to youth to fast track implementation of AADS programme.
According to him, the apex bank would also provide loan facilities to 7, 000 youths and businesses under the AGSMEIS scheme in the state.
While calling on the state and local government councils to sensitise the people to promote participation in the programmes, Nyako urged the beneficiaries to make effective utilisation of the facilities to ensure sustainability.
ABP is a critical component of the Federal Government's agriculture transformation agenda designed to encourage crop production and processing to achieve self-sufficiency.
It is also aimed at enhancing farmers' access to fertilisers; seeds, inputs, promote farmer enterprising skills, value addition and create a market for the produce.
The programme is being implemented by the CBN in collaboration with Bank of Agriculture (BOA), Nigeria Agriculture Insurance Corporation (NAIC) and designated agricultural input dealers otherwise called "private anchors".