Tuesday, May 11, 2021
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Agric input dealers advocate review of Anchor Borrowers scheme

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Some agricultural input dealers in Borno have called for the establishment of a task force to facilitate implementation of the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrowers programme being implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

They also called for strict adherence to the guidelines set out by the CBN, to mobilize participation and ensure sustainability of the programme.

Abba Kale, one of the Private Anchors, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Maiduguri.

Mr Kale, who is also the Manager of the Kalef Ventures, said the call was imperative owing to the support services provided by the scheme.

He said such a task force would enhance farmer support services, accelerate paddy rice production and ensure sustainability of the programme.

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Mr Kale claimed that the cumbersome processes of the Nigeria Agricultural Insurance Corporation, NAIC, delayed the implementation of the programme during the 2018 dry season farming.

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He blamed the delay in the implementation of the programme on the inability of the NAIC, to settle losses recorded by farmers during the 2016 and 2017 cropping seasons.

The manager explained that his company had provided support to 1,980 registered farmers in Borno, in line with the CBN’s guidelines.

He said each of registered farmers cultivated one hectare of land at Maiduguri, Jere and Mafa local government areas of the state.

He, however, lamented that the plantations were ravaged by flood and quila birds resulting to loss of their investments and inability to repay the loans.

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According to him, N256,840 is provided as budget per hectare to each of the benefiting farmers, adding that each of them received fertilizers, seeds, chemicals, tools and money for farm labour activities.

Kale noted that fertilisers and inputs were not distributed to farmers at the right time, stressing that the delay affected the production and resulted to colossal damage to the crops due to natural disaster.

He said: “the creation of Project Monitoring Unit (PMU), to coordinate the programme, starting from the procurement of input to the loan recovery process is not sufficient.

“Compliance with the guidelines set out by the CBN is necessary to ensure successful implementation of the programme.

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“Anchor Borrower scheme assisted farmers, provided job opportunities to teaming unemployed youth. Any act capable of derailment of the scheme negatively affects the nation’s economy and food security programme.”

He, therefore, called for the establishment of a task force committee to coordinate implementation processes and loan recovery to ensure sustainability of the programme.

NAN reports that the programme aims at enhancing farmers’ access to fertilisers, seeds, inputs, value addition and create market for the produce.

Anchor Borrower is a critical component of the Federal Government’s agriculture transformation agenda designed to encourage rice production and processing to achieve self sufficiency.

It is being implemented by the CBN in partnership with Bank of Agriculture, BOA, and designated agricultural input dealers otherwise called “private anchors”.

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