Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has put in place a task force in all local governments in the Northeast to recover N36 billion advanced to farmers.
The loan facilities were advanced to the farmers through the Northeast Commodity Association (NECAS) as part of the Anchor Borrowers Programme of the Federal Government.
Inaugurating the committee for the 27 local governments in Borno State in Maiduguri yesterday, the National Chairman of NECAS, Sadiq Daware, recalled that the association made it clear to the benefiting farmers in the state that the inputs distributed to them were loans.
Daware said NECAS was able to secure N36 billion loan from CBN on six different commodities comprising rice, maize , sorghum, soya beans, sesame and cotton for farmers in the Northeast.
He noted that Gombe State’s farmers got the highest portion of the loan because they farmed the six commodities while 3,722 farmers in Borno State got the least of the loan because they participated only in the cultivation of rice.
He hoped that farmers in Borno State who could take advantage of cultivating variety of crops would be enrolled into the programme in the next farming season.
Daware said: “With relative peace in Borno State, we are optimistic that at the end of the programme, we will be able to make substantive recovery. We expect to recover at least 80 percent of the loan to the farmers.”
He said the programme was well structured that no farmer would incur any loss even in the event of natural disaster.
He added: “They are about starting harvesting now and that is why we have invited all stakeholders, including the extension agents, with a view to inaugurate committee that can go and follow these farmers so that they can repay the loans.”
“Reayment of the loan will definitely allow for the continuation of the programme. If farmers receive loans without paying back, then definitely, the programme cannot be sustained.”
Speaking at the inauguration, the Development Finance Officer of CBN, Maiduguri Branch, Mahmud Nyako, said repayment of the loan varied from commodity to commodity and from hectare to hectare.
Nyako said: “Some have half hectare, some have one hectare and there is maximum of two hectares for rice farming. So each farmer gets N212,000 per hectare including labour related activities.
“The expectation was that farmers at the end of harvest could repay back 50 percent of the loan and at the next farming cycle use the input and repay the remaining 50 percent of the loan.”
Nyako stated that defaulters who did not suffer any natural cause would be prosecuted. But farmers that experienced natural disaster should report the incident to enable them to benefit from the window created by CBN for such loss.