The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has empowered at least 4,489,786 farmers through intervention financing, leveraging its flagship programme, the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
The CBN Governor Mr. Godwin Emefiele, disclosed, on Tuesday, this at the unveiling of the FCT mega rice pyramids under the RIFAN-CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.
Daily Trust reports that the CBN Governor noted that APB has also catalyzed the rural economy and has built a sustainable framework for financing smallholder farmers in Nigeria.
“The Programme has developed an ecosystem among all nodes of the agricultural value chain and these linkages can be better optimized through synergy among all stakeholders. As at the end of December 2021, we have financed 4,489,786 farmers that cultivated 5,300,411 hectares across 21 commodities through 23 Participating Financial Institutions in the 36 States of the Federation and FCT,” he stated.
“We are delighted that these efforts have yielded fruits in not just increasing the availability of rice, but also in moderating prices, reducing imports and increasing job creation in the country. For example, Thailand alone exported 1.3 million metric tons of rice to Nigeria in 2014.
“The ABP was launched in 2015 to curtail these imports, and since then, we have seen incremental reductions in rice imports from Thailand. By 2016, rice imports from Thailand had fallen to only 58,000 metric tons. As of the end of 2021, they only exported 2,160 metric tons to Nigeria, thereby saving us foreign exchange and helping preserve jobs in Nigeria.
“Beyond increasing our national output from about 5.4 million metric tons in 2015 to over 9 million metric tons in 2021, we have also significantly improved the productivity per hectare of the smallholder farmer from about 2.4 metric tons per ha in 2015 to between about 5 metric tons per ha in 2021.
“These expansions have not only made Nigeria the largest rice producer in Africa but has also unlocked enormous private sector investment in the rice value chain as the number of Integrated Rice Mills grew astronomically from 6 in 2015 to over 50 in 2021 with many more in various stages of completion. Today, Nigeria’s milled rice matches the foreign rice in quality” he stated.