Farmers in the country have said that engaging in dry season farming would help farmers recoup their losses and offsetting loans from the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
This is as the apex bank allays fears of stakeholders over rumoured plan to stop the scheme.
The president of the Forum of Agricultural Commodity Associations, Sadiq Umar Daware, in a recent interview cautioned that stoppage of the ABP portends great danger to the looming food crisis in the country.
The forum made up of 68 Agricultural Commodity Associations with about 18 million members, said farmers were ready to produce food for two seasons, to make up for the farmlands ravaged by floods during the year.
“Despite the gains, we are currently being inundated with a myriad of challenges for which we seek urgent government intervention.
“These challenges range from insecurity (Boko Haram, banditry, kidnapping, etc.), lack of consistent access to affordable finance, unavailability of quality inputs, skyrocketing prices of inputs, high post-harvest losses, fragmented and unstructured market and the dangers associated with negative climate change.
“Sadly, the situation has been exacerbated by the flash floods currently being experienced across the country and the drought in others.
“Also, we want to bring to your notice that despite these daunting challenges experienced during the 2021/2022 farming season, CBN has halted funding of Anchor Borrowers’ Programme and no other support was given to farmers.
“This singular act may eclipse the significant achievements that have been made by this administration in this sector.
“In this regard, the forum is seeking an audience with Mr President to give him first-hand information on Nigerian agriculture,” he said.
National Coordinator of Special Project, Rice Farmers Associations (RIFAN), Shehu Muazu, opined that if they can embark on dry season farming, they will be able to make up for the loses to flood which is why they are calling on the president to direct the CBN governor to release money to them.
On non-repayment of loans by farmers, Muazu said with the level of destruction of farmlands by floods, government will have to provide funds to farmers so that they can produce and then repay the loans.
President of Maize Farmers Associations, Abubakar Bello, attributed the high cost of food items to the high cost of production, saying the prices of fertiliser, agro-chemicals among other farm inputs have skyrocketed.