Farmers to Access CBN's N15bn Interest-free Loan

June 16, 2016, 6:31 am

Bauchi Farmers to Access CBN's N15bn Interest-free Agric Loan

Following the provision of N1.5 billion  made by Bauchi State Government as contribution to farmers’ equity that will also settle interest charges, farmers in Bauchi State can access about N15 billion  from the Central Bank of Nigeria agricultural loans.

The state Governor, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar stated this at a town hall meeting between Bauchi State Government, Central Bank of Nigeria, Financial Institutions, Anchor Companies, Agro Dealers and Farmers for Anchor Borrowers in Bauchi State yesterday.     

The Governor who revealed that discussions have reached an advanced stage with financial institutions on how to release funds to the benefitting farmers for the success of the programme, noted that provisions of N1.5 billion in the 2016 budget as his Government’s contribution to farmers’ equity is also expected to settle the “interest charged by the banks and allay the fears of farmers who always avoid banks loans”.

“Agriculture no doubt remains the main stay of over 80 per cent of people who reside in both urban and rural areas and remain the only source of food and raw materials to our agro-based industries which henceforth serve as major source of income for our country”, Governor Abubakar said.

While stressing that everybody must contribute to the success of change mantra, he however maintained that the people who are mostly small scale farmers need to be adequately carried along by empowering them to produce more.

He said “it is in line with the above that the present administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari launched an agricultural finance programme tagged ‘Anchor Borrowers Scheme’ in November last year in Kebbi State as a pilot project, which is now being replicated in the whole country”.

The governor said the programme is one of the CBN’s policy initiatives that seeks to pursue development objectives of job creation, reduction in food imports and diversification of the economy, by “creating economic linkages between 200,000 smallholder farmers and reputable large-scale processors with a view to increasing agricultural output and significantly improving capacity utilization of our integrated mills”.

He assured that Bauchi is among northern states that have the capacity of producing the crops needed to feeding the whole of the country, but lamented that successive regimes have neglected that important sector, and pointed out that if the name of Agricultural Development Programme is mentioned, the entire nation knows it is a serious institution that has curved a niche for itself.

The governor revealed that the State Government has registered over 800,000 farmers under the NAPI programme with a view to having more registered farmers in the State, adding that the vision of his administration in the area of agriculture for the State is empowering the small scale farmers to produce enough needed in feeding the entire population and beyond, thereby making the nation self sufficient in food production, thus making the small scale farmers more empowered.  

He observed that Bauchi State is blessed with enormous human and untapped land resources that must be harnessed in order to fight the twin evils of hunger and poverty, noting that the State Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with commercial banks, agricultural insurance and apex farmer associations are identified and registered in order to fast track the commencement of the programme.

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