Disbursements under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s intervention schemes in the agricultural sector have risen to N1.75 trillion, findings by New Telegraph show. Given the critical roles agriculture plays in the nation’s economic growth and development, the sector has been a major focus of the interventions of CBN since the 1970s.
However, since the current CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, assumed office in June 2014, the interventions have been stepped up by the apex bank, resulting in the creation of additional schemes that are aimed at boosting agricultural productivity.
New Telegraph’s analysis of latest data published by CBN with respect to disbursements under its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), for instance, shows that total disbursements as at October, stood at N864 billion.
Specifically, in a communiqué it issued at the end of its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in September, CBN stated: “The bank, under its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), has cumulatively released the sum of N798.09 billion to 3.9 million smallholder farmers cultivating 4.9 million hectares of land across the count
try. “Out of this for the 2021 wet season farming, the bank released the sum of ₦161.18 billion to 770,000 small-holder farmers cultivating seven commodities on 1.10 million hectares across the country. While harvesting for the 2020 dry season under the programme is rounding up, harvesting activities have commenced for the 2021 wet season cultivation.
“The Strategic Maize Reserve Programme of CBN has been useful in moderating maize prices by directly targeting large feed mill producers. Under its Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS), the CBN has supported 657 large-scale agricultural projects, to the tune of N708.39 billion.”
Similarly, the MPC communiqué issued, last week, states that “under its Agribusiness Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AgSMEIS), the bank has released ₦134.63 billion to 37,571 entrepreneurs “Between September and October 2021, under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), the bank disbursed ₦43.19 billion to support the cultivation of over 250,000 hectares of maize, sorghum, soya beans and rice during the 2021 dry season; and ₦5.88 billion to finance six largescale agricultural projects under counthe Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS).
“Cumulatively, the bank has disbursed the total sum of ₦864 billion to 4.1 million farmers, cultivating 5.02 million hectares. The bank also disbursed the sum of ₦41.2 billion for the commencement of the brown revolution, a large-scale wheat program to wean us off imports by 35 per cent in the first year.”
From the foregoing, it means that total disbursements for ABP, the CACS as at October, stood at N864 billion and N714.27 billion respectively. Similarly, disbursements under the AgSMEIS and the Brown Revolution programme stood at N134.63 billion and N41.2 billion respectively.
This implies that a total of N1.75 trillion has so far been disbursed under the aforementioned agricultural intervention programmes.
Analysts note that ABP is the most well-known of CBN’s agric intervention programmes. Launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2015, the programme was designed by the apex bank to create economic linkages between smallholder farmers and processors with a view to increasing agricultural output and ensur-ing food price stability.
The specific objectives of the programme, according to CBN, include increasing banks’ financing to improve agricultural productivity by creating an ecosystem that drives value chain financing; reducing the nation’s food import bill through import substitution and enhanced domestic value addition; creating new generation of farmers through innovative financing to support smart agriculture; deepening financial inclusion and growing smallholder farmers from subsistence to commercial farming.
New Telegraph reports that in his address at the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN)’s 56th annual bankers’ dinner, which took place in Lagos last Friday, Emefiele attributed the economy’s recovery from the COVID-19-induced recession to the regulator’s interventions in key sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing.
He said: “Our interventions particularly in the manufacturing and the agriculture sectors significantly helped to encourage continuous improvements in growth in these two key sectors of our economy.
Today, our food production systems have become more sustainable due to the improved output at our farms and local factories. “Output of staple commodities such as rice, maize, palm oil and tomatoes has grown significantly, and we have also seen increased efforts of our local manufacturing firms to engage in backward integration efforts.
“A visit to any major retail chain will reveal an increasing number of high quality made in Nigeria products relative to imported goods, which is helping to increase domestic production, generate employment and wealth in our country. If these intervention efforts were not carried out by the monetary and fiscal authorities, our economy would have been in a grim state.”