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More commercial banks are venturing into agricultural credit scheme to boost food security and employment.
This time, Keystone Bank Limited has boosted the Anchor Borrowers Programme with N350million credit line covering 1700 farmers starting with Taraba and Sokoto states.
The Managing Director of Keystone Bank, Mr. Philip Ikeazor while revealing the scheme said “Financial institutions have a crucial role to play in providing support to players along the agriculture value chain and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) initiative of the Anchor borrowers programme is a step in the right direction. Financing in agriculture is one factor of production, which facilitates the acquisition, procurement and management of the other factors of production such as land, expertise and management”.
Analysts say with the recent focus of the Federal government of Nigeria on diversification of the economy, Agriculture is being promoted in many quarters as the next frontier in driving the economy of the nation. The reason is not farfetched as agriculture was the major export industry before the discovery of crude oil in the late 1950s with cocoa, groundnut, palm oil being major export products among others.
Business Hilights recalls that the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, initiated by the CBN as a sub-shoot of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) was created to support farmers and increase their production capacity. About N19billion was disbursed in the last farming season with reported 90% success rate. The programme was initially designed for rice farmers only but the scope has since been expanded to other farming sectors.