Agric programme successfully empowers medium, smallholder farmers nationwide – Expert

An Agro-entrepreneur, Mr. Amos Agbo, has said that the Nigerian government’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) has succeeded in empowering medium and smallholder farmers in the country.

Agbo, who is the Managing Director of Farmnet, an Agriculture-based company in Lafia, made the observation in Lafia, Nasarawa State.

According to him, the ABP is achieving a lot in eliminating extreme hunger and poverty among medium and smallholder farmers across the country.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in line with its developmental function established the ABP. The Programme was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on Nov. 17, 2015.
It is to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in the processing and Small Holder Farmers (SHFs) for the required key agricultural commodities.

The thrust programme of the ABP is provision of farm inputs in kind and cash for farm labour to small holder farmers to boost production of these commodities, stabilise inputs supply to agro processors.
At harvest, the SHF supplies his/her produce to the Agro-processor (anchor), who pays the cash equivalent to the farmer’s account.

Agbo said that food security could only be achieved, if the agricultural sector increased its production and productivity.

The agro-entrepreneur said that 225 staff in his company were among the farmers that had benefited from the first phase of the programme in Nasarawa State.

He commended the CBN and the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) for creating window of opportunities for medium and smallholders farmers across the country.

Agbo enjoined farmers who were yet to take advantage of the window of opportunities provided by the CBN to do so in order to increase their production and productivity.

The agriculturist, however, blamed some stakeholders for making the programme cumbersome, saying that the CBN should endeavour to relax stringent requirements for obtaining loans for medium and smallholder farmers in the country.

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