The Central Bank of Nigeria has stated that farmers who default in paying back loans gotten from the Anchor Borrowers’ Program will be arrested and locked up until they pay back the loans.
This was disclosed by the CBN Comptroller, Bauchi Branch, Saladu Idris, while speaking at the Secretariat of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ).
The CBN official stated that even though a lot of farmers have remained, the loan defaulters were particularly amongst the rice farmers.
What the CBN is saying
Mr. Idris bemoaned the fact that some rice farmers who were part of the Anchor Borrowers Scheme had defaulted on their loans.
He said, “Most people have paid back but there are a few who have failed to pay back. We called the leaders of the rice farmers associations and reported these people to them. They gave us the assurance that they will follow them up and ensure that they pay.
“Part of the terms of the agreement was that as soon as the harvest is done, they are to pay back. Those who fail to pay, we will take appropriate action against them. They will be arrested and locked up until they pay back. And for those who pay back fully on time, they will be rewarded with higher amounts of money and more inputs.”
What you should know
It can be recalled that in November 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari launched the ABP to boost agricultural production and reverse Nigeria’s negative balance of payments on food. Farmers captured under this programme include those cultivating cereals (rice, maize, wheat etc.)
The programme was intended to create a linkage between Anchor Companies involved in food processing and Small Holder Farmers of the required key agricultural commodities, through commodity associations.
Nairametrics reported that the apex banks Anchor Borrowers’ Programme disbursed N864 billion to 4.1 million farmers growing 5.02 million hectares of land (ABP). The amount is what the CBN has spent since the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) began in 2015, according to Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, who revealed this at the latest Monetary Policy Committee meeting.
Emefiele said the CBN disbursed N43.19 billion from September to October 2021 to support the dry season farming of over 250,000 hectares of maize, sorghum, soya beans, and rice under the scheme. He also revealed that the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme will provide N5.88 billion to finance six large-scale agricultural projects (CACS).
The CBN had earlier stated that it has launched a loan recovery scheme under the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme. The scheme would be in partnership with the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) beginning in Gombe state.
Farmers are currently putting pressure on the Federal Government to ask the CBN to extend the loan repayment for the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) due to disruption of crop production caused by worsening insecurity across the country.