James Emejo in Abuja
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday said it will support about 1.6 million farmers across the agricultural value chain for the 2020 farming season.
CBN’s Director in charge of Development Finance Department, Mr. Yila Yusuf disclosed this during the flag-off of farm inputs distribution for cotton farmers in Kwali, Abuja.
He said the apex bank’s intervention will create an impact that will guarantee food security in the country, adding that it would provide financing support to farmers under the bank’s 10 focal commodities initiative, which cuts across the entire value chain.
Yusuf said the CBN had engaged 256,000 farmers in cotton production for the 2020 planting season through its Anchor Borrowers programme (ABP).
He, however, emphasised that farmers were expected to pay back the loans disbursed by CBN under the ABP.
The CBN director also noted that the apex bank had reduced the interest rates paid on all CBN intervention funds from nine per cent to five per cent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the CBN was working hard to revive the cottons textiles and garments industry to create jobs and boost the economy.
Yusuf said: “The 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 the 1980s, 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 $5 billion was spent annually on the importation of textiles.”
He added that the bank was pursuing backward integration to ensure that the entire value chain in the industry was funded for the benefit of Nigerians.
This as the President, National Cotton Association of Nigeria, Mr. Anibe Achimugu commended both President Muhammadu Buhari and CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele for the efforts towards reviving agriculture and enhancing economic growth.
He said CBN credit facilities had caused a major turnaround in the production output.