Smallholder farmers as well as other stakeholders in the Nigerian agriculture sector have hailed series of intervention schemes by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to support farmers.
According to them, such interventions have been responsible for the food security being currently enjoyed in the country and saved the country from experiencing famine.
They said that if such financial support valued at N798.09 billion to 3.9 million smallholder farmers had not been made available, food crisis and inflation would have become worse as supply became low and prices rose in the last few months.
Through various schemes, the farmers have cultivated 4.9 million hectares of land across the country under its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) of the apex bank.
A smallholder and beneficiary of the recent CBN financial support from Oyo State, Akinbowale Makanjuola, commended the CBN under the leadership its governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, for the efforts towards reviving agriculture and enhancing economic growth.
He noted that CBN’s credit facilities had caused a major turnaround in smallholder farmers food production output, while urging the apex bank not to relent so that more smallholder farmers can benefit.
A rice farmer in Ofada, Ogun State, John Olawale, while commending the CBN and describing its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) as very good and beneficial to many farmers, said the programme has assisted in stemming illegal importation of food and has given incentive to local farmers to operate optimally while ensuring national food security.
Olawale said the ABP is a good effort by the government to protect local farmers by banning the importation of food items that the local farmers have a comparative advantage in production.
A former president of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Mr Ibrahim Kabir, explained that ‘‘The CBN intervention has surely helped the food system and without it, the situation would have been more uncomfortable.’’
It would, however, he said, be more impactful if the apex bank could reach more farmers, especially through AFAN, rather than directly through the commodity associations.