By Ginika Okoye
The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN)says the reappointment of Mr Godwin Emefiele as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor by President Muhammadu Buhari, was a confirmation that the President is `agriculture friendly’.
Chief Daniel Okafor, the National Vice-President of the association, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday, while commending the President for the re-appointment.
Okafor appealed to Emefiele to continue with the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) and ensure that all agriculture commodities associations benefitted from the programme in his second tenure.
He also appealed to the CBN governor to ensure the reduction of interest rates on agriculture loans to stand between three and five per cent.
Okafor appealed to the CBN governor to initiate other agriculture friendly programmes and also support the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) with funds to enable farmers’ access to agriculture loans.
“We welcome this development. We commend the President for re-appointing Emefiele.
“It means that the President is agriculture friendly. We thank him for that.
“We want the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) to continue so we welcome his continuity.
“The National Assembly should do the needful because farmers’ need the man at the helm of affairs in CBN.
“ CBN has been agriculture friendly since Emefiele’s tenure, but we want him to ensure that every commodity is accommodated in the ABP.
“We will like him to continue, he is a good candidate, kudos to Emefiele, but he should do more not only on ABP but he should also initiate other agriculture friendly programmes.
“The CBN should also ensure that BoA is supported to get money so that farmers can get loans when necessary.
“He should also try to reduce loan interest rates to be between three and five per cent,’’ Okafor said.
President Buhari had in a letter to the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, dated May 8, presented for confirmation of Emefiele as CBN governor for a final term of five years.
The CBN in line with its developmental functions, established the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) which was launched by Buhari in Nov. 2015
The programme which had benefitted millions of farmers was aimed at creating a linkage between anchor companies involved in processing and small holder farmers of key agricultural commodities.
Its thrust was the provision of farm inputs in kind and cash to small holder farmers to boost production, stabilise inputs supply to agro-processors and address the country’s negative balance on food prices.