To achieve strong and viable agricultural base, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has listed conditions for accessing the Anchor Borrowers credit from the N220billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF).
The Anchor Borrowers credit is for farmers at nine percent per annum interest rate to address the challenge of poor funding they face.
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, stated thus during an interaction with rice farmers in Awka, Anambra State.
He said the idea behind the Anchor Borrowers programme initiative was to diversify the economy by addressing the issue of local production of agricultural products that reduces the nation’s foreign reserve.
Emefiele, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Development Finance, Paul Eluhaiwe, identified lack of mechanisation, low quality inputs and poor funding as major hindrances to rice production but stressed that the programme was aimed at solving the problem of finance.
On the conditions for accessing the loan, the CBN boss said the farmers will be thoroughly trained on the global best agronomical practices.
According to him: “The farmers must be members of a validated cooperative before applying for the loan.
“We will find out how much it will take to produce one hectare of rice to determine the amount that will be given to each individual. The idea is to enhance efficient management of the resources.”
The Managing Director of Ebonyi Agro Nigeria limited and the Major Off-Taker of the programme in Ebonyi, Enugu and Anambra State, Engr. Charlce Ugwu, lamented Nigeria consumes about six metric tons of rice yearly but produces only 3.5 metric tons at about $3 billion.
He noted that the two paddy aggregation centres in Anambra State will be made more viable, promising that his group will buy all the rice produced in the state through the programme.
He also enjoined farmers to utilise the opportunity offered by the programme to increase their yield.
Governor Willie Obiano, represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Afam Mbanefo, thanked the CBN and the Offtaker for the initiative and called on the farmers in the value chain to ensure that they are revalidated.