Delta fish farmers receive N1.2 bn loan

Fish farmers in Delta State have received N1.2 billion loan under the Central Bank of Nigeria Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP).
The Loan Officer, Bank of Agriculture, (BOA), Asaba, Ambrose Nwabuzor, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, in Asaba,bon Sunday.
He said that the BOA secured the release of N1.2 billion to the fish farmers under the private window of the ABP and that the beneficiaries had provided enough securities to guarantee the drawdown of the loan from the CBN.
“Under the private window, we have secured the release of N1.2 billion to eight anchors that came together to form a fish farm.
“Each of the anchors gave us an irrevocable post-dated cheque (security) and they profiled their farmers,” he said.
He also said that the BOA was working to secure the release of another tranche of loan for the anchor off-taker in fisheries.
The BOA loan officer said that the off-taker had also provided security for the loans and profiled his farmers under the scheme.
According to him, the programme was compact in nature and should bring all the major stakeholders together in form of a chain.
“An anchor off-taker is the most important person in this chain, for without him the programme cannot succeed.
“He must have the financial strength to pay input suppliers, profile and pay his farmers, mop up all the farm produce, store, process, preserve and market them at convenient.
“Here in Delta the ABP has both the private and the state windows,” he said.
Nwabuzor said that the Delta State Government keyed into the state window to produce oil palm, rice, cassava and fish.
He said that because the oil palm had long maturity period it was not part of the programme.
“So, we have only three items in the programme, but, unfortunately,  the state has not been able to secure an anchor off-taker for cassava and rice.
“So, no money has been released to BOA for payment of input suppliers and farmers in the state,” Nwabuzor said.
He, however, advised the state government to assume the position of an anchor off-taker under the scheme by providing BOA with an Irrevocable Standing Payment Order.
He said that the documentwould ensure that the loans were recovered from the farmers. 

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