. . .Says her bank financed 218,684 small holder farmers from 2019 to 2021
Fresh facts have emerged on Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) as one of the Chief Executive Officers of participating commercial banks, Mrs. Tomi Somefun of Unity Bank, reveals why the programme may collapse.
Somefun, represented by Mustapha Baba Idris, North West Zonal Head of the bank, urged that intense collection efforts be made towards repayments of the outstanding loans by farmers, describing the current recovery position as not commensurate with the exposure.
The result, she said, is the current threat to the sustainability of the ABP and should be resolved immediately to achieve greater success.
The Unity Bank boss disclosed this recently at the flag off of 2023 wet season farming by Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) under Private Partnership Programme (PPP) held in Karkanda Stadium, Katsina.
Giving a breakdown of the banks strategic partnership with MAAN in 2019, Somefun said it witnessed the financing of about 37,182 small holder farmers and in the year 2020, the bank increased the tally by financing additional 70,604 farmers for the wet season.
She further stated: “The bank during the 2021wet season further increased its tally by financing a total of 110,878 small holder farmers, making it the largest single ticket transaction cutting across 31 states of the federation and the Federal Capita Territory (FCT).”
The managing director however urged the beneficiaries of this 2023 wet season intervention programme to utilize the inputs judiciously and ensure the sustainability of the programme by repaying their loans.
Her words: “They should appreciate the efforts of government in attaining food sufficiency, diversification of the economy from oil, job creation for teeming youth and poverty reduction. The income of small holder farmers will significantly improve if good agricultural practices are implemented.”
According to Somefun, the bank remained optimistic that MAAN under the leadership of Dr. Bello Abubakar, would continue engage its members on their roles and responsibilities under the ABP.
While declaring the commitment of Unity Bank to its partnership with MAAN under ABP to ensure the attainment of Federal Government and CBN target to meet self sufficiency in maize production through the association, she tasked the executives of MAAN at all levels to intensify collection efforts towards the repayment of the outstanding loans by farmers.
On the declaration of state of emergency on food security on Thursday, July 13, 2023, she expressed confidence that President Bola Tinubu administration would not be deterred in pursuing its goal of “Renewed Hope” through diversifying the economy and producing food for its populace by the continuous support and funding to the agribusiness value chain that had proven to create massive employment for the teeming youths as well as food sufficiency.
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