BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Maize Association call out debtors to repay loan under anchor borrower’s program

....says farmers mistook loan for grant

The Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) has called out debtors under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers program (ABP) to repay their loans.

Launched by Muhammadu Buhari on November 17, 2015, the anchor borrowers scheme aims to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in the processing and small holder farmers of the required key agricultural commodities.

According to CBN, over 3 million farmers have benefited from the N791 billion disbursed under the program.

However, MAAN has said that some farmers across the country have misconceptions about repayment as they mistook the loan for grants.

According to Bello Abubakar, National President of MAAN, late disbursement of funds, natural disasters such as flood, drought, Covid-19, insecurity and political factors adversely affected the performance of the loan and repayments.

He said, “the journey with the Anchor Borrowers Programme has not been rosy all through as there have been some challenges along the way. Some farmers across the country have misconceptions about repayment, they mistook the loan for grants and acted surprised when they were asked to repay.

“Some politicians created the wrong impression that the loan is from them and that it is free.

“We know there are some challenges but loan is a loan, loan is not a grant, loan is not subsidy, so therefore we must follow these farmers to make sure they repay back this loan and that is why we are here.

“The Association will work with the Central Bank Nigeria and the Private Financial Initiatives to deploy all legal means possible to get defaulters to repay their loans.”

Read also: Experts to discuss Nigeria’s agro development at 38th Omolayole lecture

Abubakar disclosed this during a strategic meeting with maize farmers and stakeholders on the CBN’s anchor borrowers loan recovery.

“We have to make sure that we have taken all the necessary actions and measures to make the farmers who took these loans pay up”.

He explained that the loan has encouraged farmers to produce more and encouraged more people to go into farming thereby enhancing food production.

“There has been enhancement of food production under the anchor borrower programme; if you look at maize production before 2015 was 8 million metrics tons in this country, but when anchor borrowers started from 2015 to 2020 our production has risen to 20 million metric tons, the records are there in Ministry of Agriculture, IITA and the IAR.”

He noted that with the purchase, disbursement of hybrid seeds and all other inputs and extension services made available to Maize farmers’ through the loan has boosted yields per hectare to 5 metric tons.

“The growth is because this programme has helped the farmers to get more inputs, quality inputs; right from seed, fertilizer, herbicides and other needed services this made the farmers increase their production.

“Maize Yields before the Anchor Borrowers Programme was 1.8-2.0 metric tons that is 18 -20 bags per hectare, but when Anchor Borrowers came our yields increased to 3-5 metrics tons because of high yielding seeds made available to the farmers,” he added.

The representative of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Senior Manager, Development Finance Office, Port-Harcourt, Celsus Agla said as a last resort the bank may have to deploy the Global Standing Instruction (GSI) to get the farmers to repay.

He said, “List of the defaulters should be sent to Unity, it is very important because if this defaulters prove stubborn, GSI is a system whereby if you have an account with any bank outside Unity Bank and there’s money in that account, because your BVN is attached to this loans, if the GSI is triggered, the monies in those accounts can be collected to repay the loan to Unity Bank, so it is important for Unity Bank to get the list of defaulters”.

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