The Bank of Agriculture (BOA) says it is seeking support from the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) to scale up implementation of the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrower Programme.
The Bank’s Managing Director, Prof. Danbala Danju, stated this, while interacting with newsmen, shortly after a meeting with the IFAD officials in Kaduna.
Danju said IFAD support to Rural Finance Institution Building programme (RUFIN) would strengthen the bank’s capacity for effective service delivery in the Anchor Borrower programme.
He explained that the bank would also benefit from the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) training being offered by IFAD under the programme.
According to him, the RUFIN would equally help in expanding the database of farmers participating in the bank’s credit programme currently being implemented in 13 states of the federation.
“The collaboration with IFAD will help the bank to address the challenges in capturing the biometrics of farmers, their farm sizes and locations, as well as the crops they grow.
“ It will also address the challenge of Bank Verification Number (BVN) being experienced by farmers as well as computer training for staff and building of a data bank.
“ IFAD is like a donor agency trying to help us in training our staff for effective service delivery with regards to the Anchor Borrower programme,“ Danju said.
Earlier, IFAD Country Representative in Nigeria, Tsoda Asuko, said that the Fund would assist the bank in training farmers and strengthen off-takers under its RUFIN programme.
She said that the RUFIN programme is being implemented by IFAD in some 13 states of the federation to equip farmers with basic knowledge on how to access micro-financing.
Asuko said the RUFIN programme which is in its last lap after six years in the country, would also strengthen commercial banks to participate in the Anchor programme.
“I am here to discuss the Anchor Borrowers Programme and the role of BOA and how IFAD and RUFIN can support the bank.
“ BOA is critical in the implementation of the Anchor Borrower programme, reason we in IFAD are willing to assist in training farmers.
“We analyse some of the challenges the Anchor Borrowers Programme had been facing and the opportunities for the bank to strengthen its role,“ Asuko said.
She said IFAD, within its last six months left to conclude it programme is willing to dedicate resources to strengthen capacity in rural micro financing to benefit more farmers and ensure loan repayment.
Available statistics indicate that more than 300,000 smallholder farmers are participating in the programme.
The Federal government had introduced the programme to enable farmers to access credit facility from the bank and use the farm produce in repayment of loan to enhance food security.