Central Bank of Nigeria is planning to fund the value chains of nine commodities with about N432bn in the 2020 wet season, to support households and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises affected by the Coronavirus Disease.
Also, to avert another round of recession in the country, it has unveiled plans to integrate non-interest loans in all its intervention programmes, particularly the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme and the Targeted Credit Facility.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, at a stakeholders’ meeting to review the successes recorded under the ABF and strategies for the 2020 agricultural wet season on Thursday, explained that the creation of a non-interest window followed appeals by concerned stakeholders, for farmers across the country to also be considered.
While revealing that work had been concluded on the funding document, he said the policy would be issued shortly outlining how farmers under the category could apply and benefit from the CBN’s agricultural programmes.
CBN Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor; and Director, Development Finance Department, Yila Yusuf, represented Emefiele.
He reiterated CBN’s commitment to aggressively fund its agricultural programmes this wet season, and spur farmers along select crop value chains to save the country from sliding into a recession, as is currently being experienced in some major economies of the world.
Speaking on the TCF aimed at alleviating the impact of COVID-19 on individuals and small businesses, Okorafor said the bank was determined to push the economy to ensure the country did not experience consecutive quarters of negative growth.
He said Emefiele had directed CBN’s Development Finance Department as well as the NIRSAL Micro-Finance Bank, to fast-track the approval process for loans, to restore businesses and livelihoods.
Yusuf remarked that the target for the 2020 agricultural season was to advance about N432bn, through the participating banks in the value chains of nine commodities.
He also disclosed that over one million farmers cultivating over one million hectares of farmland were expected to benefit from the loans that will help produce a collective output of 8.3m metric tonnes.
According to Yusuf, the focus for this wet season is to ensure the provision of improved seeds to incentivise farmers to return to their farms, adding that the value chain approach was adopted across all the commodities to ensure that every player along the entire chain, from the farmers through to the processors, was financed.
The bank’s funding of the ABP for the season is the highest since its inception in 2015, which is quite significant considering the successes recorded in the 2019 season that contributed to shielding Nigeria from any food shortage, particularly rice, in the heat of the global lockdown, he added.
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