Banks, Government Officials Are Frustrating Anchor Borrowers Programme – Farmers
Malam Sadiq Daware, the National Treasurer, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, on Thursday accused some banks and governments officials of frustrating the successful implementation of the Anchor Borrowers Programme.
Daware told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja that many farmers had complained that they were unable to access the loan of ABP, executed by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
He said other farmers complained that they were not given the agreed money to facilitate the cultivation of their rice farms.
Daware said though CBN had released N43.92 billion to farmers under the ABP through 13 participating institutions, some people were frustrating the efforts of the farmers to access the facility.
He also said it was so unfortunate that some financial institutions were not farmer friendly due to their complicated transaction procedures and their non-consideration of the gestation periods of crop growing.
Daware said all the previous efforts of small-scale farmers to access various agricultural credit schemes of the government had yielded insignificant results because of the unwillingness of the banks to cooperate with them.
He said some of the banks insisted that CBN had not given them specific guidelines on how to disburse the funds meant for small-scale farmers.
He said the farmers were compelled to fill pages of forms in the documentation process, in spite of the fact that most of the smallholder farmers were illiterate, thereby frustrating the process.
Daware said now that some of the bottlenecks had been addressed, banks were, nonetheless, delaying the process.
He said investigations revealed that most of the government officials working under the ABP were not showing much interest in the schemes or giving the necessary assistance to the farmers.
The RIFAN official said under the programme, some farmers were given fertilisers while others were denied access to other inputs, adding that the inputs distribution process was also haphazard.
Daware said in some cases, the farmers were not given the financial component of the loan, thereby frustrating the farmers’ plans to start cultivation in a particular season.
He said: “The issues are being addressed by RIFAN at all levels, while farmers have been advised to ensure that they meet the bank’s preconditions for the loan.
“The failure to meet the stipulated conditions is part of the reasons behind the delay in the disbursement of funds but the programme will not fail.”
He said RIFAN had intervened in various states to ensure the successful implementation of the ABP and promote adequate rice production in the country.
The Eagle Online