The nation’s apex bank, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has put in place a task force in all local governments of the states in the northeast to recovered N36 billion advanced to farmers.
The loan facilities advanced to the farmers through, the North-East Commodity Association (NECAS) is part of the Anchor Borrowers Programme of the federal government.
Inaugurating the committee for Borno and it’s 27 local government areas on Sunday in Maiduguri, the National Chairman of NECAS , Alhaji Sadiq Daware, recalled that NECAS had advanced loans to benefiting farmers in Borno State, and during the distribution of the input, it was made clear to the farmers that the distribution was a loan.
He said NECAS was able to secure N36 billion loan from CBN on six different commodities comprising rice, maize, sorghum, soya beans, sesame and cotton for farmers in the northeast.
Alhaji Daware noted that Gombe farmers got highest portion of the loan because they farmed the six commodities, while 3,722 farmers in Borno got the least of the loan because they only participated in one commodity which is rice farming.
He said NECAS is hoping that in the next farming season, farmers in Borno who have advantage of cultivating variety of crops can enrolled into the programme.
“With relative peace in Borno, we are optimistic that at the end of the programme, we will be able to make substantive recovery. We expect to recover at least 80 percent of the loan to the farmers.”
He said the programme is well structured that even in the event of natural disaster, the farmer will not incur loss.
“They are about starting harvesting now and that is why we have invited all stakeholders, including the extension agents with a view to inaugurating committee that can go and follow these farmers so that they can pay the loans.
“Payment of the loan will definitely allow for the continuation of the programme. If farmers receive loans without paying back, then definitely, the programme cannot be sustained,” he said.
Also speaking at the inauguration, Mahmud Nyako, the Development Finance Officer CBN, Maiduguri Branch, said payment of the loan varies from commodity to commodity and from hectare to hectare.
“Some have half hectare, some have one hectare and there is maximum of two hectares for rice farming. So each farmer gets N212,000 per hectare including labour related activities.
” So the expectation is that farmers at the end of harvest can pay back 50 percent of the loan and at the next farming cycle, they can use the input and pay the remaining 50 percent of the loan,” he said.
On loan default, Nyako said real defaulters without any natural cause, will be prosecuted, but if it is natural disaster, the farmer needs to report so as to benefit from the window created by CBN for such loss.