Farmers unhappy over government’s anchor borrowers, fertiliser schemes
Nigeria farmers have raised concerns over the taking over of the constitutional role of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Presidency.
The farmers lamented their inability to access soft loans provided under the CBN Anchor Borrowers Scheme, just as fertilisers produced under the Presidential Initiative on Fertiliser (PIF) are reportedly beyond reach.
It would be recalled that a former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, while inaugurating the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) board in 2017, had directed the bank to take over the Anchor Borrowers Scheme of the CBN to enable the apex bank face its primary responsibilities.Ogbeh had maintained that the bank’s primary responsibility was not to give direct credit or soft loans to farmers but that of the BOA.
Senate Committee Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, during the 2019 World Food Programme, also pointed out that the Anchor Borrowers Scheme had not been completely successful, because CBN was not properly placed to administer the programme, insisting that the Ministry of Agriculture that has the primary mandate to implement all national agricultural policies should be allowed to take over the Anchor Borrowers scheme.
The PIF is to make fertilisers available to farmers at the price of N5, 500 per 50kg bag, as against the market price of N8, 500. But a major agro dealer told The Guardian that the initiative had been more of a media jamboree.The stakeholder said the fertilisers produced by blending plants under the PIF scheme were adulterated, as farmers preferred the regular one sold in the market.