By Ahmad D. Garba
All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, has expressed full support of President Bola Tinubu’s order to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on recovery of Anchor Borrower loans given to farmers.
Speaking on the loans yet to be recovered, the National President, AFAN, Arch Ibrahim Kabir, said the N2.6 billion loan was largely accessed by non-farmers, hence the difficulty it ran into on recovering the loans.
According to him, the scheme failed to carry the AFAN along and there was no synergy between it and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security when it was launched in Kebbi State for Rice and Wheat with an initial sum of N2.6 billion.
He also added that the current crushing food inflation defying all efforts to date “largely due to the mismanagement of the seemingly laudable CBN ABP begun in 2015 as a result of the Agriculture Promotion Policy, APP, covering the period 2015-2019.
He said: “The Programme started on a good note but lost its focus by dealing with a few commodities without due diligence.
“The Programme should have been institutionalized at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and AFAN engaged in ascertaining the real farmers because that would ensure sustainability and some modicum of probity.
“The amount expended in the scheme is too large for agricultural production and rather than bring about food security it has brought uncommon food inflation.
“It is quite instructive that the Tinubu Administration has asked the CBN to recover all outstanding loans from the CBN Anchor Borrower participants within a few weeks and it clearly vindicates us considering that we have been advising the CBN to do due diligence in giving the loans by routing it through AFAN and institutionalizing it in the defunct FMARD now renamed Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.
“The loan is supposed to revolve in order to reach more farmers but it was unfortunately given to non farmers and opportunists in most cases.
“The best thing to do now is to use the BoA to do Agricultural lending by selling equity to the farmers through AFAN thereby ensuring that only practicing farmers get it.
Hotpen reports that, the apex body of farmers in Nigeria AFAN will establish a robust data base of farmers and their various farms and commodities to enable seamless verification before giving out the loans.
This according to him will ensure repayment as only genuine farmers will access the loans which they will definitely pay back to enable the funds to revolve seamlessly thereby engendering greater farmer-coverage.
“We hope that a great lesson shall have been learnt and the needful will be done going forward.
“All those who misappropriated this colossal fund must be held accountable for this is the only way to sanitize the flow of credit to bring about food security in Nigeria.
“We applaud the Tinubu administration for this proactive decision against those set to hoodwink it to continue with the fraud called Anchor Borrower Programme.”