From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Kogi chapter, on Thursday attributed the low recovery of Anchor Borrowers Scheme input credit facilities to some farmers’ penchant for resale of the inputs.
Mrs Rabi Emaiku, chairperson of RIFAN in the state who disclosed this while addressing newsmen in Lokoja said the activities of the “political” farmers was undermining the objective of the scheme at boosting rice production in the country.
Emaiku said the culprits who got enlisted and registered as farmers but without farmlands had also made recovery of the loans given under the scheme as farm inputs, very difficult.
“They sell the inputs lower than the cost at which they were given. They resell each pumping machine given to them at the cost of N39,000 for as low as between N10,000 and N12,000.
“Fertilizer given to them at N6,950 per bag they resell for between N2,500 and N3,500. At whose loss is this. It is annoying because they will have to pay back the loans or others will not benefit.
“That is why the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Unity Bank, RIFAN and other stakeholders have resolved that a farmer will have to pay 20 per cent of the total value of the inputs approved for him to access i” she said.
She said N114.3 million was recovered in 2019 as repayment for the loans and remitted to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from farmers who were not affected by the flood that devastated the riverine areas and swept off farm crops in the previous year.
Emaiku however said that approval had been given for 9,708 rice farmers in the state to access the facilities in 2019 adding that distribution of inputs, based on payment of the 20 per cent commitment, started two weeks ago.
The total package of the facilities per farmer according to her, amounts to N231,500 adding that those who found it too big could go for half.
According to her, in 2017, 731 farmers benefitted from the first RIFAN project in the state for dry season farming while in 2018, 11,706 farmers benefitted from same programme across the state.
The RIFAN chairperson decried the devastating effect of the 2018 flood saying that farmers went to farm with high hopes of bountiful harvest but “Suddenly, we were attacked by the flood and everything we planted was destroyed by the devastating flood and I had to cry to Abuja.”
Emaiku commended Governor Yahaya Bello for payment of the 2019 counterpart contribution to the Anchor Borrowers Scheme which made it possible for the state to be reconsidered.