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Fulani herdsmen force N379bn debt on CBN’s ABP as farmers desert farms

The Central bank of Nigeria recorded a shortfall of N378.5bn in loan repayment by beneficiaries under the Anchor Borrower’s programme (ABP) in six years, data obtained from the findings apex bank have shown. Between November 2015, when the ABP scheme was introduced and November 2020, the CBN executed a total of 2.3m projects under the programme and disbursed N497.2bn to farmers. However, data obtained from the CBN’s Fourth Quarter 2020 Economic report showed that only N118.7bn had been repaid by the beneficiaries within the review period. President Muhammadu Buhari had launched the ABP on November 17 2015 in a bid to reverse Nigeria’s negative balance of payments on food. Beneficiaries of this programme include farmers cultivating cereals (rice, maize, wheat etc.), cotton, roots and tubers, sugarcane, tree crops, legumes, tomato and livestock. Loans are disbursed to the beneficiaries through Deposit Money Banks, Development Finance Institutions and Microfinance Banks, which the programme recognises as Participating Financial Institutions. According to the CBN, the broad objective of the programme is to create economic linkage between smallholders and reputable large-scale processors with a view to increasing agricultural output and significantly improving capacity utilisation of agricultural firms.