Rather than cranking up agricultural production as intended, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Program (ABP) has sparked a number of complaints and failed opportunities in the country’s North Central Zone.
Farmers in the region attribute the failure mainly to the poor implementation of the 2015 program to increase food production, reduce imports and conserve foreign currency.
North Central Zone, home to lush farmland and popularly called Nigeria’s food basket is made up of six states: Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau, Niger, Kwara, Kogi and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Most of the farmers’ unions in the zone told The Guardian that the program would have no effect yet. In fact, some of them claimed not yet had access to the fund.
It was found that private companies can also register farmers under the scheme, provided they are willing to guarantee them repayment. The difficulty, however, is that the FCT has few agricultural processors who are unwilling to take risks on behalf of farmers or use their equipment as farmers’ safety.
The way how Cash and supplies have been given incorrectly to farmers at the beginning of the planting season, he suggests gradually granting farmers supplies and mechanization services, starting with the provision of mechanization services to prepare the soil for agriculture; followed by herbicides, seeds and others.
The National President of Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPAMAN), Dr. Edwin Uche, however, welcomed the program.
He said, “The program has really improved the lives of our farmers, it has created jobs, it has created an opportunity for our people, it has empowered our youth and women. It is a program that has had a positive impact on the lives of our people, it has also lifted people out of poverty. ”
He announced that in 2020 around 50,000 members of the association would receive around N9 billion for mechanization services and agricultural inputs, and stressed the need for advisory staff to monitor the activities of farmers participating in the program.
He blamed the failure to repay loans due to the absence of consultants to monitor and guide the farmers if necessary.
In a speech by the Director of Planning, Research and Statistics of the FCT Secretariat for Agriculture and Rural Affairs Chambers, Yahaya Useni, Minister who stated that raw material growers negotiate directly with commercial banks, said, “I am aware that the Rice Farmers Association (RFA) is involved. They started the Anchor Borrowers Scheme last year, but we just encouraged them to reach out to the CBN and help make their funding easier. It’s really not an FCT affair, I am also aware that the FCT Maize Association has applied for the Anchor Borrowers Program for their farmers. The program in FCT is purely private-sector.
“All we do is ensure that farmers who have access to agricultural, productive land have what they need through the credit facility of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Get support to produce certain raw materials, e.g. in 2021 we are already working with the six territorial councils of the territory to draw up the lists of farmers in groups of, say, 100 bases where farmers are ready to go into the rice and Start corn production. ‘ ‘
The chairman of the Kwara State Chapter of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Mallam Ahmed Saba, gave three reasons why some farmers were unable to repay the ABP loans.
Saba told the Guardian in Ilorin that many beneficiaries of the billion dollar loan viewed it as a political patronage rather than a lifeline with conditions.
He also noted that the channels for loan repayment were not clearly defined
The debt made it difficult for many farmers to obtain further credit. Saba said that the operators of the loan now only work with viable farmers’ associations in the state.
He said: “Due to the existing debt, the state cannot grant any further loan under the program from previous beneficiaries for the time being, but associations within the state benefit immensely. If we deny this, we are not fair to the system.”
IN State of N. asarawa, some farmers claimed that they had not benefited from the APB since 2019 and made the alleged politicization of. responsible for the situation the scheme.
The secretary of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Nasarawa Chapter, Abdullahi Mohammed, who made the claim, complained that no member of its 5,000-member association is benefiting from the program have.
According to him, some farmers secretly benefited from being part of some politicians in the state.
However, there is hope on the horizon as at least N10 billion is expected to be attracted to agricultural activities in the state this year. The state government is already working with the Rice Farmers Association and plans to attract N10 billion investment to support rice farmers in the state under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) ABP program.
Nasarawa State Governor Abdullahi Sule made the announcement while announcing the sale of fertilizers and other agricultural supplies for this year’s rainy season in Andaha, Akwanga Local Government Zone.