RUFIN facilitates access of N28bn for rural farmers



Institution Building Programme (RUFIN) has facilitated access to finance for rural dwellers to the tune of N28 billion since its inception in 2010.
The Deputy National Programme Coordinator, Mrs Unekwu Ufaruna, made this known in Yola on Friday when he visited the Adamawa Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Waziri Ahmed.
The visit was part of the activities of the 12th International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Supervision Mission on the programme going on in the state.
Ufaruna said the programme had formed over 12,000 village savings groups of which over 80 per cent had been linked to microfinance institutions and were currently enjoying sustainable financing.
She said RUFIN had built a sustainable relationship between the microfinance banks and the village savings groups which would continue to flourish even when the RUFIN programme was over.
``The programme has been able to mobilise funds to the rural groups to a tune of N28 billion since its inception in 2010.
``Through these rural groups, so many rural enterprises and agriculture had been boosted and the people lifted out of poverty; some had expanded their enterprise and others had diversified and employed more hands,’’ Ufaruna said.
She explained that the programme had participating institutions which include the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) and the Federal Department of Cooperatives.
According to her, the CBN is expected to take the lead and ensure that the legacy of RUFIN continues by coordinating all the stakeholders when the programme rounds up in 10 months time.
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Waziri Ahmed, said RUFIN had been a great initiative and a lot of rural folks in Nigeria had benefitted immensely from it.
Ahmed said the state had collaborated with all three RUFIN mentored microfinance banks in the state to disburse N218 million state funds to farmers in the state.
He said a RUFIN Desk was established in the state Ministry of Agriculture which was helping the ministry coordinate the disbursement of funds to rural dwellers.
He said there was no better platform for government to lend money to farmers than through the RUFIN system, which he described, as a shift from the old system.
The commissioner, however, appealed to the operators of RUFIN to appeal to the microfinance banks to reduce interest rate and ensure that only rural farmers enjoy the state loan facility in their custody.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that RUFIN is an IFAD sponsored programme in collaboration with the Government of Nigeria.
The pilot programme, which is being implemented in 12 states across the six geopolitical zones, is aimed at enhancing financial inclusion in rural areas.
The states were; Adamawa, Bauchi, Edo, Anambra, Imo, Uyo, Nasarawa, Katsina, Zamfara, Lagos, Akwa Ibom and Oyo.
The programme uses the village saving group methodology where rural dwellers are grouped, trained and linked to trained microfinance institutions for access to affordable loans.

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