…To sanction loan defaulters
By Victor Uzoho
To ensure sustainability and increased food production in Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has released revised guidelines for its Anchors Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
Issued by the apex bank’s Development Finance Department, the new guidelines are contained in a circular posted on the CBN’s website.
It explained: “This document is therefore aimed at improving the Programme’s implementation process and enhancing stakeholders’ participation for the realization of the ABP’s objective.”
According to the document, the Anchors Borrowers funds are not free but loans that are expected to be fully repaid within the tenor of the facility.
“Repayment shall be by produce and/or cash as may be prescribed by the CBN. The loans granted under the programme shall be fully repaid within the tenor of the facility.
“Where the facility was accessed through a Commodity Association, the leadership of the Association shall be responsible for full repayment of facility granted to its members.
“The maximum loan limit for each eligible farmer under the programme shall be decided based on CBN ratified Economics of Production (EOP) and validated land size. Repayment shall be by produce and/or cash as may be prescribed by the CBN,” the document stated.
This document is therefore aimed at improving the Programme’s implementation process and enhancing stakeholders’ participation for the realization of the ABP’s objective.
Furthermore, penalties for infractions range from blacklisting of farmers in the programme from all CBN interventions, prosecution by anchors/associations, and payment of the loan by the guarantors/cooperatives/commodity associations.
CBN also urged farmers to desist from side-selling, input diversion, and refusal to deliver produce by Smallholder Farmers (SHFs), participating financial institutions, and anchors.
The Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) was established by the CBN in line with its developmental function and was launched by President Buhari on November 17, 2015, with the intention to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in the processing and smallholder farmers (SHFs) of key agricultural commodities.
ABP is hinged on the provision of farm inputs in kind and cash (for farm labour) to smallholder farmers to boost production of selected agricultural commodities, stabilise inputs supply to agro-processors and address the country’s negative balance of payments on food.
At harvest, the farmers supply their produce to agro-processors, who pay cash equivalent into the farmers’ accounts.