The Central Bank of Nigeria revealed that a total of N4.9bn has been provided as loans to rice farmers under its anchor borrower program.
This revelation was made by CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele while speaking during a tour of the farmlands in Kebbi state cultivated under the intervention program of the apex bank.
The anchor borrower program is designed to create economic linkages between farmers and processors, not only to ensure increased agricultural output of rice and wheat, but also close the gap between production and consumption.
Under the programme, the CBN has set aside N40bn out of the N220bn Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund to be given to farmers at single digit interest rate of nine per cent per annum.
Under the scheme, smallholder farmers are entitled to loans ranging from N150,000 to N250,000 to assist them in procuring necessary agricultural inputs like seedlings, fertilizers, pesticides, among others, to help boost agricultural outputs and productivity.
Emefiele said through the intervention, a total of 78,581 farmers were mobilized in Kebbi State under the intitiaive, with a total of 570,000 direct jobs created in the process.
The farmers,according to him would be producing about one million metric tonnes of rice for the country this year.
The governor according to statement issued by the apex bank on Sunday described the current scarcity of foreign exchange confronting the country as a blessing in disguise as local production of various essential products are now being given top priority.