By Mustapha Sumaila
Abuja, Aug 13, 2020 Mr Promise Amahah, the President Nigerian Young Farmers Network (NYFN) has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to include more regional and agro-ecological crops in its Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP).
Amahah gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday.
He explained that it was necessary to consider certain crops that predominantly grow and do well only in certain regions with certain ecological features aiming at creating wealth in those areas.
The NYFN president said that some crops grow and do well in some specific places because of certain factors.
He, however, said it was important to note that the defining factor in the ABP was the “Anchor”, hence the need to ensure that any crop or product suggested for the programme should also have good off-take capacity.
“An Anchor here refers to companies/organisations involved in the processing of various crops and agricultural products. The ABP simply connects or creates the linkage between small holder farmers and the processors.
“And this is programmed to achieve two key objectives to boost food production by small holder farmers by providing support through farm inputs and labour cost and to stabilise input supply to processors,” he said.
The president said innovative thinking and collaborative gap analysis were required to reinforce and optimise the Anchor Borrowers Programme.
According to him, sustainable strategies for engagement should also be considered, especially on risk assessment, loan recovery, monitoring and evaluation.
Meanwhile, Amahah also stressed the need to ramp up the process of Food Safety and Quality Control for Nigerian agricultural products to measure up in the international markets.
He added that to achieve this, Public Private Partnership was key and significant.
Amahah also emphasised the need for Nigerians to embrace good agricultural practices that required strategic sensitisation and awareness on best practices.
He said equipping extension workers to guide and train farmers through a train-the-trainer programmes was importantas as well as investing in innovation and technology for food safety, quality control and general post harvest management.
Accorcing to the president, there must be deliberate policies and proactive initiatives to identify the gaps and inefficiencies with a view to developing a sustainable action plan to address the challenges