COVID-19: Farmers call for review of anchor borrowers interest rate

Maize Farmers Association of Nigeria (MAAN), has called for zero interest rate on 2020 Anchor Borrowers to farmers by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to cushion effect of Coronavirus (COVID-19), outbreak on farmers.

President of Association, Dr. Bello , made call in Abuja, while speaking on the effect of the lockdown on agricultural activities. said the call followed the encountered by irrigation maize farmers and unavailability of inputs for the beginning of wet season farming.

He said delay in the start of wet season farming was due to the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown and restriction on movement in some parts of the country, which had made access to farms and inputs impossible for farmers.“About the interest rate; because of this problem, our farmers suffered, especially irrigation farmers and early planting farmers who lost everything.

“We are pleading with the CBN to give us zero interest rate for this year’s Anchor Borrower programme, so that farmers will encouraged to go to the farm, produce and meet our target,” he said.He, however, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for releasing 70,000 metric tonnes of grains from silos in the country. said the move was  a commendable one as the whole 70,000 metric tonnes, excluding the ones that went to processors, produced by local farmers.

“The Federal Government directed the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to release food commodity from different silos to all the states of the federation, which is 70,000 metric tonnes.“This large quantity was produced by our farmers here in Nigeria, apart from the ones already purchased by food commodity processors,” he said.

The MAAN president said government should liaise with the CBN to deal directly with commodity farmers on the Anchor Borrowers , instead of using contractors that often shortchanged them.

“The CBN is our farmers to produce after which some off-takers will come and buy this produce from our farmers or our association at a very low price“The Federal Government can liaise with the government to off-take directly from the farmers and them, instead of paying N15, 000 per 100 kg to contractors, who in turn buy at N8, 500  from the farmers,” he added. (NAN)