Maize farmers reject CBN’s distribution process for Anchor Borrowers loan

By Ummi Ismaeel, Minna

Maize Farmers Association of Nigeria (MFAN), Niger State chapter, has rejected the process adopted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the distribution of its Anchor Borrowers’ loan scheme to boost production in the year, 2020 farming season.

The rejection followed a protest by the MFAN members in Chanchaga Local Government Area, insisting that the process and conditions attached to the CBN Anchor Borrowers loan for members in the current cropping season was highly unfavouable.

Members of MFAN had during the distribution of materials/ inputs for the beneficiaries in Chanchaga (Minna), where they were asked to deposit N3, 000 each in a designated account in Unity Bank for logistics, resisted the moves.

The 91 beneficiaries out of the 143 membership of MFAN at the venue for the distribution rejected the offers due to attached conditions that included; repayment with farm produce of not less than 30 bags per hectare and a deposit of N20,000 in the account.

Each of the beneficiaries, according to the new order, must swear to affidavit in Court to ensure repayment hence bringing the total loan package to N166, 000 per hectare, including fertilizers, herbicides, seeds and others under EOP to be paid back with seeds after harvest that might be split into two cropping seasons.

A member of the association, Usman Kwotu, said, “The condition is unacceptable to us and we condemn the entire process in its totality because no farmer can meet up with the demands with this current template as prices of the items are not in consonance with the reality”.

Kwotu, who accused some officials of MFAN of hijacking the entire loan process to the benefits of themselves and their few cronies, wondered why beneficiaries would be compelled to swear to an affidavit in Court for procedures that had been in existence over time now.
“This is supposed to be in clusters but it is contrary in our operations,” he said, adding that the good intentions of the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration on agricultural policy would be dashed if the new order was allowed to continue.

Kwotu, who expressed fears of consequences on food production and farming generally this year in Niger State, said farmers in the state if given the enabling environment and equipment could feed the country.

Secretary of the association, Malam Adamu Jibrin, in his response to the peaceful protest, however, argued that most of the beneficiaries had their training earlier and agreed on the conditions as stipulated.

The CBN loan, according to Malam Jibrin, was just 9% interest loan programme and should be appreciated, adding that the prices of the materials given would be deducted from the total package and balance to be given to the beneficiaries, while the N3,000 deposit was for the transportation of those goods, store and security of the materials to date.

Swearing of Court affidavit, he said, was aimed at ensuring repayment of the loan by the beneficiaries who are having insurance cover for the programme.

Jibrin further emphasized that during the said training, many of the MFAN members were made to understand that a hectare could produce between 60-80 bags of produce and a good benefit to each of the farmers.

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