NIGERIA – The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has targeted to fund the value chains of nine agricultural commodities in the 2020 wet planting season to the tune of N432bn (US$1.1bn) to prevent the country from sliding into a recession, as is currently being experienced in some major economies of the world.

The commodities to be funded include rice, cotton, oil palm, tomato, cassava, poultry, fish, maize, cocoa and livestock/diary.

The funding would be sent through designated participating banks, targeting over 1.1 million farmers, cultivating over one million hectares of farmland which will in turn result in a cumulative output of 8.3 million metric tonnes of commodities.

The bank has also unveiled plans for a framework for the integration of non-interest window in all its intervention programmes, particularly the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) and the Targeted Credit Facility (TCF), reports The Guardian.

This move is to support households and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said at a stakeholders’ meeting to review the successes recorded under the ABP, and the strategies for the 2020 agricultural wet season.

The Bank’s funding of the ABP for the season is said to be the highest since its inception in 2015, following successes recorded in the 2019 season that contributed to shielding Nigeria from any food shortages, particularly rice, in the heat of the global lockdown.

The Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Isaac Okorafor, said the creation of a non-interest window followed appeals by concerned stakeholders for farmers to be considered for funding under the non-interest window.

He revealed that work had been concluded on the funding document and that the policy would be issued shortly to enable farmers access and benefit from it.

Accordingly, CBN’s Development Finance Department as well as the NIRSAL Micro-Finance Bank (NMFB) have been directed to fast-track the approval process for loans, to restore businesses and livelihoods.

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