By Adedapo Adesanya
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has lamented that the majority of farmers who have benefited from the Anchor Borrower Scheme (ABP) in Oyo State have failed to repay their loans.
This call was made by Mr. Sadeeq Ajayi, a CBN Development Finance Office in Ibadan at Agribusiness Innovation Clinic.
He called on farmers who failed to repay farm loans to repay, saying the apex bank’s inability to collect loans from defaulting farmers had threatened the scheme, adding that it had prevented other farmers from access the facility.
The CBN official made the call at a clinic titled Foster innovation and collaboration along the agricultural value chain organized by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN).
The ABP is an agricultural loan program launched in 2015 by the federal government, through the CBN, to provide loans (in kind and in cash) to smallholder farmers to boost agricultural production, create jobs , reduce food import bills to conserve foreign exchange reserves.
“While the anchor borrower program has had some success, the non-repayment of loans by farmers has been a major setback.
“Many farmers have refused to repay their loans due to the misconception that since the CBN is the lender, the loan is a ‘national cake’ and they don’t have to repay what they consider to be the theirs as citizens.
“This attitude has made it difficult for other farmers, who also want to access the loan, to benefit from the scheme,” he said.
Mr Ajayi said stakeholders including traditional rulers should appeal to defaulting farmers to repay loans quickly for the sake of others.
“Of course we are engaging various stakeholders and we expect the narrative to change very soon so that more people can access the fund,” he said.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Olasukanmi Olaleye, Oyo State Commissioner for Trade, Industry, Investment and Cooperatives, hailed GAIN’s initiative to tackle malnutrition in the country .
Mr. Olaleye, represented by Mr. Mukaila Oladipo, Deputy Director at the Ministry, said food fortification is one of the safest, most effective and affordable ways to fill micronutrient gaps in the country. .
Furthermore, Mr. Godwin Ehiabhi, Senior Project Manager, GAIN Nigeria, said that increased access to safe and nutritious food would reduce the high rate of malnutrition in the country.