CBN Assures 1.6m Farmers Of Special Funding

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BY EDMOND ODOK, ABUJA – About 1.6 million Nigerian farmers are savouring the exciting news that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will finance their activities nationwide in this year’s wet season.

The apex bank’s 2020 plan is to finance the farmers under its 10 focal commodities that would cut across the value chains.

CBN’s Director of Development Finance Department, Mr Yila Yusuf stated this when flagging off Farm Inputs Distribution for cotton farmers for this year’s planting season on Tuesday in Kwali Area Council of Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

According to the Director, represented by Mr Ayoola Quadri, the measure was aimed at creating desired impact that would guarantee food security in the country.

Yusuf, who spoke on efforts at boosting cotton production in the country, said CBN has already engaged 256,000 cotton farmers for the 2020 planting season through its Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP).

The Director explained that the farmers are expected to repay the loan under the ABP, adding that CBN has reduced the interest rates paid on the facility from nine (9) per cent to five (5) per cent because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Yusuf said the apex bank is working hard to revive Cottons Textiles and Garments industry to create jobs and boost the economy for productive engagements across different sectors

He also noted that CBN’s commitment in 2018 to cotton production ensured the nation’s textile industries were self sufficient in 2019 as cottons used during the period were sourced within the country with some reasonable stock even put away in warehouses.

The Director said; “CBN is trying to bring back the glory of textiles of those days where the industry used to employ 10 million people across the country.

“In 80s, we lost that glory because of smuggling where our country was turned to a dumping ground of textiles materials. It is an unfortunate situation, about five billion dollars was spent annually on the importation of textiles.”

He said CBN is currently deploying backward integration to ensure the entire value chain in the industry is adequately funded for the overall benefit of the people and Nigeria in general.

Speaking at the event, President of the National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NCAN), Mr Anibe Achimugu, commended President Muhammadu Buhari and CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele for their interventions to engender growth and development in the sub-sector.

Achimugu said farmers are now recording huge turn-around in their production output courtesy of the CBN’s loan facilities.

He however challenged beneficiaries to repay the loan promptly to enable others benefit from the facility, saying that such commitment would ensure more people are accommodated by the scheme come 2021.

The NCAN boss also disclosed that about 2,200 farmers, grouped into clusters, have so far benefited from CBN’s intervention within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

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