The International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) said it will support the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) with a view to scaling up its farmers’ participation in the Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP).
IFAD Country Representative in Nigeria, Tsoda Asuko, who disclosed this shortly after an interactive session with the management of BOA at its head office in Kaduna, said, that the Fund would assist the bank in training farmers and equally strenghten off-takers under its RUFIN programme being implimented in 12 states.
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, there why we in IFAD are willing to assist in training farmers.
“We broke down 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’s programme is willing to dedicate resources to strengthen capacity in rural micro financing to benefit more farmers and ensure loan repayment.
Also speaking, the Bank’s Managing Director, Prof. Danbala Danju said the collaboration would strengthen the staff capacity for effective service delivery in the Anchor Borrower programme.
He explained that the bank would also benefit from the Information Technology training being offered by IFAD under the programme.
According to him, the IFAD under its Rural Finance Institution Building Programme (RUFIN) would equally help in expanding the data-base of farmers participating in the bank’s credit programme.
“The collaboration with IFAD will help the bank address the challenges it faces in capturing the biometrics of farmers, their farm sizes and location, as well as the crops they are growing.
“It will also address the challenges of Bank Verification Number (BVN), being experienced as well as computer training for staff and building of a data bank.
“IFAD is like a donor trying to help us in training our staff for effective service delivery with regards to the Anchor Borrower programme” Danju said.
Federal Government Anchor Borrowers programme is being implemented by the bank in about 13 states of the country.
Available statistics shows that more than 300,000 small holder farmers are participating in the programme.