From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna.
The Niger State chapter of the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) in Chanchaga Local Government has rejected the process and conditions attached to the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, Anchor Borrowers loan for its members for the 2020 farming season.
This followed a brief protest by the members during the distribution of materials/ inputs for the beneficiaries in Minna, where they were asked to deposit N3,000 each in Unity Bank for logistics.
However, the beneficiaries numbering ninety one (91) out of 143 members of the association vehemently rejected the offers due to conditions that include; repayment with farm produce of 30 bags per hectare, a deposit of a sum of N20,000 in the account.
It further stipulated that each of the beneficiaries must swore to affidavit in court to ensure the repayment hence the total loan package is N166,000 per hectare that include fertilizers, herbicides, seeds and others under EOP to be paid back with seeds after harvest that might be split into two cropping seasons.
According to a member of the association, Hon Usman Kwotu, “the conditions are unacceptable and we condemn the entire process, farmers can’t meet up with the demands with this current template as prices of the items are not in consonance with the reality” he said.
Kwotu also accused the association (MAAN) of having hijacked the entire loan process to its benefits while it’s compelling beneficiaries swore an affidavit in court, adding that this was supposed to be in clusters but it is contrary in operation.
He reiterated that the good intention of President Muhammadu Buhari on agricultural policy would be dashed if this is allowed to continue, noting that Niger state can feed the country if better machinery is put in place to actualize such dream.
Responding, the Secretary of the association Malam Adamu Jibrin however, argued that the beneficiaries have had their training earlier and agreed on the conditions as stipulated.
He who explained that the CBN loan was just 9% interest loan Programme and should be appreciated adding that the prices of the materials given will be deducted from the total package and balance to be given to the beneficiaries, while the N3,000 deposit was for the transportation of those goods, store and security of the materials to date
Jibrin maintained that the swore on court affidavit was aimed at ensuring the repayment of the loan by the beneficiaries who are having insurance cover for the program, stressing that during their training they were made to understand that a hectare can produce between 60 – 80 bags therefore it’s of a good benefit to the farmers.