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Flood, drought, insecurity have affected us badly – Maize farmers

Maize farmers have said their journey with the Anchor Borrowers Programme has not been rosy all through as they encountered many challenges along the way.…

Maize farmers have said their journey with the Anchor Borrowers Programme has not been rosy all through as they encountered many challenges along the way.

They listed some of the problems as including late disbursement of funds, flood, drought, COVID-19 and insecurity.

Flood, drought, insecurity have affected us badly – Maize farmers

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The Maize Association of Nigeria, in a nationwide strategic meeting with maize farmers and stakeholders on the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers’ loan recovery, also said some politicians were creating the wrong impression that the loan came from them and was free thereby making recovery difficult.

Dr Bello Annoor Abubakar, the national president of the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN), while addressing the farmers and stakeholders, said the objective of the meeting was to review the impact of the loan on maize production, deliberate on loan repayment strategies and the way forward for farmers.

“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.

“So that is why we decided to go round all the 36 states of the country starting with the South-South and South-East to come together and meet with our stakeholders so that we can discuss, deliberate and come up with a very concrete solution to this problem; what way do we go to ensure the farmers pay up these loans.

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

Dr Abubakar lamented that some farmers across the country considered the loans as grants, noting that some acted surprised when they were asked to repay – a situation which, he said, has affected the loan repayment performance.

Despite the challenges, Dr. Abubakar said the loan has encouraged farmers to produce more and more people to go into farming.

“Enhancement of food production under the Anchor Borrowers Programme; if you look at maize production before 2015, it was eight million metric tonnes 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.”

The MAAN president said the programme helped farmers improve 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 said.

The association, in conjunction with the bank may trigger, as a last resort, the Global Standing Instruction (GSI) to get the farmers to repay.

If the GSI is triggered, the money in a farmer’s accounts in any bank(s) can be collected to repay the loan to Unity Bank, which administered the loan.