The CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’Policy
Rice is Nigeria’s leading number one food in all homes. Its importation using scarce forex has gulped fortunes in excess of $2 billion. This was prior to the launch of the ABP on November 17, 2015 – a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) agric lending scheme specifically tailored to address rice sufficiency.
A game changer in rice production, the programme was designed primarily to conserve scarce foreign exchange, which rice importation was inflicting on forex reserves.
To narrow the gap between heavy tonnes of imported rice and negligible tonnes produced locally, the CBN launched ABP in Kebbi state in 2015. The scheme was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari. For farmers to access the loan, the apex bank encouraged them to form cooperatives.
The bank has expended about N55 billion as loan grant to farmers on single digit rate.
Deadline for rice importation
The Federal Government restated its commitment to end rice importation by 2018 ending. In his new year message to Nigerians last January, President Muhammadu Buhari said Nigeria would end rice importation in 2018 to encourage local production.
“I am highly gratified that agriculture has picked up, contributing to the government’s effort to restructure the economy. Rice imports will stop this year. Local rice, fresher and more nutritious rice will be on our dishes from now on,” he said.
“By the same token, I am today appealing to enterprising Nigerians with ideas and unemployed graduates and other able-bodied and literate men and women with ideas, not to just sit and wait for employment from the government or the organised private sector.
“Great nations are built by enterprising people who turn their hands to anything that circumstances dictate.” Giving update on rice importation after the commencement of ABP, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said there had been drastic drop in rice importation, adding that rice importation had dropped by 88.4 per cent last year.
The CBN is not relenting in its effort to attain rice sufficiency mandate of the president. The bank has expanded Anchor Borrowers’ Programme scope beyond the state. CBN, last week, entered into strategic partnership with Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) with a view to empowering over 12.2 million farmers under the fully digitalised second phase of the ABP.
Speaking at this year’s dry season farming, CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said the biometric information of the farmers had been taken, their farm mapped out and biometric cards produced for each farmer.
He said the device would identity them while collecting the inputs from the service providers. Emefiele said the FCT farmers would be used to try the technological innovation introduced into the ABP, adding that the process would spread across 24 states participating under RIFAN-ABP dry season.
The bank said it would partner with other commodity associations such as maize, cassava, millet, sorghum and other staple foods to provide employment, reduce food import, boost export and earn foreign exchange. The governor was represented by his Special Assistant on Agriculture and Development Finance, Tunde Akande.
“The ABP started in November 2015. Under two years, we decided to upscale it. We’ve decided to collaborate with RIFAN but we’ll also partner with maize, cassava, sorghum, etc, using commodity associations.