Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Kano rice farmers reject FG’s loan scheme

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Rice farmers in Kura Local Government Area of Kano State on Monday rejected a loan scheme by the Federal Government.

The scheme involves distribution of farm inputs as loan by the state chapter of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN, in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and Bank of Agriculture, BOA.

The farmers, under the leadership of chairman of the association in Kura, Ado Sarkin-noma rejected the loan shortly after the flag-off of the distribution of the items by the Managing Director of the BOA, Kabiru Adamu.

Speaking to journalists on the occasion, Mr Sarkin-noma said the loan, which would be repaid with bags of rice after harvest, has tripled the normal prices of all the farm inputs in the market.

He added that they earlier notified the state chapter on the issue in order to take necessary measures before the flag off ceremony, lamenting that nothing had been done.

“We were expecting that the loan of the farm inputs would be given by the Federal Government at a subsidised rate to assist us during the farming.

“But we realised that at the end of the day we are going to pay back in double of what we are collecting. We have made market surveys, and we discovered that inputs given to us at N210,000 are not up N100,000.

“The earlier promise was that the loan would come with N60,000 subsidy on inputs, but at the flag-off, we discovered it was a ruse.

“Therefore, we are not going to collect until the issue is resolved,” he said.

The chairman explained that the farm inputs to be distributed include fertilizers, water pumping machines, chemical sprayer, among others.

Responding to the issue, the state Chairman of RIFAN, Abubakar Aliyu said the loan was sourced from the CBN and BOA by the association but not directly coming from the Federal Government.

He said there was no cause for alarm on the mode of repaying the loan, adding that N60,000 was what the farmers would pay as the cost of production.

Earlier speaking, the Managing Director, BOA, said for the whole dry season farming,  N25 billion was earmarked for the loan nationwide, adding that over 25,000 rice farmers would benefit from N5 billion in Kano.

According to him, the disbursement of the farm inputs was an effort to boost Agricultural sector in the country, especially rice farming.

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