The CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Program may have run into difficulties because borrowers are unable to repay on time.
The program’s goal is to establish a link between agricultural commodity processing anchor corporations and small-scale farmers.
The ABP’s main goal, according to the CBN, is to provide farm inputs in kind and cash to small-holder farmers in order to enhance commodity production, stabilize input supplies to agro-processors, and resolve the country’s negative food balance of payments.
At harvest, the farmers supply their produce to agro-processors who pay the cash equivalent to the farmers’ accounts.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, at the launch of the 2021 wet season input distribution in the South-West in Ado Ekiti last month, said a total of 3,107,890 farmers had been financed for the cultivation of 3,801,397 hectares of land across 21 commodities through 23 participating financial institutions.
He also stated that the sustainability of the programme depended on repayment of loans by farmers.
But farmers, who collected the loans said on Monday that with bandits sending them away from their farms, they would not be able to repay the ABP loans.
I took N1.3m loan, bandits destroyed my farm, I couldn’t harvest a bag of rice – Zamfara farmer
One of the farmers in Zamfara State, Alhaji Nuhu Dansadau, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said he collected N1.3m ABP loan.
Dansadau, whose farm is in Yargaladima village in the Maru Local Government Area, lamented that he was not able to harvest even a bag of rice because the bandits destroyed his crop.
According to him , “The bandits destroyed all my crop very close to harvesting period. They put their cattle in my rice farm and everything was destroyed.”
He stated that , the bandits also threatened to kill him if he returned to the farm. He said, “When they destroyed my farm, they also told me not to come to the farm again.”
I was kidnapped for a month, my crop destroyed, I don’t know how to pay CBN loan – Farmer
Another farmer, Mallam Umar Yusuf, who took a N600,000 loan, told said that he was kidnapped by the bandits and detained for over a month.
He maintained that after he paid ransom, he was released and when he returned to his farm, he discovered that the crops he planted had been destroyed by the bandits.
Yusuf stated, “I don’t know how to pay the CBN loan because I didn’t harvest anything.
‘I couldn’t wait to harvest rice and soya beans in my farm at Bardoki village in the Gummi Local Government Area because of persistent bandits’ attacks.”
A farmer in Jangeme village in the Gusau Local Government Area, Aminu Sarki, said he fled his village following persistent attacks by bandits.
He stated, “I obtained the CBN loan and I planted rice and soya beans but I was unable to wait for the harvest because of the fear of bandits’ attacks.”
Sarki added that his village was deserted, adding that it would not be easy for farmers to go to their farms.
Insurance only covers flood, fire, excludes cattle menace – Chairman, Ekiti farmers
In Ekiti State, farmers said insecurity had kept many of them away from their farms, making the repayment of the CBN loans difficult.
They lamented the destruction of farms by herdsmen’s cattle among other security challenges.
According to them, the fact that the insurance for the CBN ABP does not cover cattle menace has compounded their problems.
The state Chairman of the All Farmers’ Association of Nigeria, Adebola Alagbada, said, “Going to farm is a serious problem. You face the challenge of being kidnapped by the bandits.
“Again, the challenges of herdsmen to farmers are enormous. That is why there is no food; no garri, cassava and maize in town. It is a serious challenge and repayment of bank loans becomes a burden to the farmers. Apart from bank loans, farmers get funds from thrift societies, which is more terrible. Farmers are in serious problem now. In my farm, I battle Fulani herdsmen on a daily basis.”
Alagbada, who lamented that that a major obstacle was the limited coverage of the available insurance, said, “We want insurance to cover cattle menace. As it obtains now, it is not packaged into the insurance scheme. The insurance covers just flood and fire. It does not cover herders’ attack which is the problem that we have in the farms.”
It won’t be easy to pay back ABP loan – Ekiti maize farmers
Also, the state Chairman of the Maize Growers Processing Marketer Association of Nigeria, John Omoyajowo, whose members lost multi-million naira worth ready-to-harvest maize on over 60 hectares of land to cattle invasion early in the year, said, “We have not been able to get out of it. That is our problem. The farmers cannot go to farm again.
“It would not be easy to pay back the ABP loans. When we were at a meeting in Abuja on Friday, they were clamouring that we should pay back and they were not even advancing us any form of money.
“We have inputs, but we need money to mechanise and that is our problem. We didn’t complete the input we were given last year. We need money to mechanise and then people will plant, we still have herbicide, fertilizers and seed.
We are being asked to repay, but insurance doesn’t cover cattle menace – Maize farmers
“There is nothing we can do about it. It is unfortunate the insurance we have does not cover cattle menace. When our farms were destroyed, they were referring us to insurance when they knew that cattle menace is not insured in Nigeria.”
Also, the state Chairman of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Kolawole Rotimi, who lamented that herdsmen attacks had dealt “deadly blows” on farmers and crops production, said, “Up till now, most of the laws that our governors have been trying to put in place, anti-grazing or whatever, have not really been implemented.