Members of the Zero Hunger Commodity Farmers’ Association of Nigeria have identified late distribution of inputs to beneficiaries as a major challenge to the Nigerian government’s Anchor Borrowers Programme.
This stance confirms a special report published weeks ago by PREMIUM TIMES after an extensive investigation across four states.
The association, in a communiqué issued at the end of its meeting in Abuja, however, commended the government for sustaining the programme for two years through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The communiqué signed by the coordinator of the farmers’ group, Tunde Arosanyin, was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Ilorin.
“The meeting commended the Anchor Borrowers Programme of the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria in accessing credit and input to farmers in the last two years.
“It was noted that none of the farmers were given input and credit as a means of political patronage which may derail the scheme,’’ it said.
The communiqué, however, noted that seeds, chemicals and fertilisers were distributed late to beneficiaries while some of the inputs were substandard and had expired.
It also commended the establishment of the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for agricultural Lending as well as the Nigerian Agricultural Foundation.
According to the communique, the two bodies which were represented at the meeting are playing good roles in the agricultural sector of the national economy.
The association identified provision of input, credit facility at single digit interest rate and good market prices for farmers as critical factors that government must consider if agriculture was expected to drive the economy.
The meeting frowned at the delay in budget presentation and passage in the country, explaining that it was a major constraint to economic performance of the country.
It noted also that poor allocation to the agricultural sector in the last decade was a sign that the country was not yet ready to place agriculture in the right place.
The association also advised the federal government to urgently find a lasting solution to the incessant farmers/herdsmen crisis, warning that food shortage was imminent as most farmers could no longer attend to their farms over fear of attack.
It commended the Nigerian Meteorological Agency for providing accurate guide on weather to farmers in the country.