Report says that 3,383 farmers, who benefited from the N364 million loan in Taraba State between 2018 and 2019, are on the run. The loan was part of the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP). Over N240 billion has been disbursed so far under the programme but failed loan recovery process has become a major bottleneck to the survival of the programme.
Acting chairman of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Tanko Andami, said the amount was collected as loans for both wet and dry season farming in 2018 and 2019.
The beneficiaries, the majority of whom are now said to be on the run, were said to be from Lau, Gassol, Wukari, Karim-Lamido, Ardo-Kila and Jalingo councils of the state and were registered under 185 multi-purpose co-operative societies.
The vice chairman of the association, Daniel Gani, said most of the farmers thought the loan was “a gift” from the Federal Government. They looked at it as allowance and bonus from President Muhammadu Buhari.”
Gani, who said the association was on “a recovery process,” said no farmer had been traced, except the late.
He expressed dismay that some of the beneficiaries “changed their phone numbers and their village cannot be reached,” adding that the association would leave no stone unturned in its efforts to recover the loans.
Some farmers who are warming up to obtain such loans to boost their farms are, however, not pleased with the attitude of their colleagues, as they believed that such acts will debar the association from extending loans to genuine farmers.
Also, President of the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN), Bello Abubakar-Annur, said his members participated in the 2019 ABP credit facilities for the first time, but COVID-19 truncated the repayment of the loans.
About N5.4 billion was advanced to the farmers under MAAN, but no repayment had been concluded when the disruption came around February/March, he said.
The ABP was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) on November 17, 2015, with the intention to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in the processing and small holder farmers (SHFs)of the required key agricultural commodities.