By Abdulwaheed Olayinka Adubi, Kaduna
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has explained that farmers who applied for the Agricultural loan under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrower programme will be given farming implements to assist them in food production and not cash.
Speaking at a town hall meeting on Monday to sensitise farmers on the CBN Anchor borrower programme for this year’s wet season, Aminu Mohammed from Kaduna State office of the CBN said experts will supervise every farm to ensure better yields.
“For Nigeria to come out of insecurity is for us to be self-sufficient in food production. One of the objectives of this programme is to make people rich and eradicate poverty. You will be given farm inputs to go to the farm. You will be given bags of fertilizer, herbicides, insecticides to apply to the crops. Nobody is going to use your salary to pay this loan. You pay the loan from your produce after sales. And you make money from the remaining ones. However, when you default loan payment, your salary account will be deducted from the Unity bank.
“We have been doing this Anchor borrowing since 2016. But this is the first time we are doing it directly with NLC. We want to stop importation of food. It is not only maize and rice that can be cultivated. We can grow tomatoes because Nigeria has good soils. You have to listen to experts so that you can harvest much.
“However, one of our dilemmas is that some farmers are not applying all the bags of fertilizer supplied to them. We are appealing to you to apply for all the facilities given to you,” Mohammed said.
Earlier, in his remarks, the Kaduna State Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Suleiman Magaji said, “Don’t rely on your salary. Start something, no matter how small so that it can grow bigger. You must not be as rich as Dangote before you can do business. This loan is enough for farming and you have enough time to pay back the loan. You pay after harvest. You can see the crowd. They are from zone one, two and three. We are going to engage Kaduna Agricultural development programme at the local government areas. The rain season is here. By the first week of June you should start planting.”.
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Also, while advising farmers and prospective ones, the NLC State Secretary, Christiana John-Bawa said civil servants should go into farming like poultry, fishing and crop production.
She cautioned against subjecting business to family members buying on credit, saying nothing runs down business like selling on credit.
“You must not do business that every family member will collect everything on credit.
“And if you are interested in politics, I advise you to join a political party that will put food on your table. We must diversify our business; we must not rely on salary alone. Do something that will give you extra money.
“We must have a shock absorber over ugly situations in order to live long. Do petty business so that there will be less pressure on your salary.
“Allow your children to learn hand work after school hours so that they will be useful tomorrow when they cannot find work after graduation.
“The children of the rich are in schools; they will get jobs soon after graduation. So the poor must not follow the rich because their children have jobs waiting for them after graduation,” John-Bawa said.
Also while giving the overview of the programme, a Consultant to CBN sensitization on Anchor borrower programme, Mr. Kekere Solomon said, “52,000 cups of maize stems can be harvested from one hectares of land which can produce 40 bags of maize from the one hectares of the land.
“A bag of maize is N17000 now, but in a few months it may go to N24000. So from 20 bags sale you can pay back the loan of N320,000 granted you by the bank.
“CBN will provide facilities for farming. Eg herbicides, insecticides. There are already buyers for your product. You can now plant your maize in May and June.
“Workers in Kaduna must grab this opportunity and show to the world that they can do it,” Solomon said.
Interestingly, it was gathered that there is insurance cover for the farming activities because Agric business is one of the riskiest businesses.
An insurance expert at the event said if, farmers suffered drought, poor rainfall, locust attack on crops, insects destroying crops, the insurance company has to come in to evaluate the loss and tell the bank.
The expert added that, “the bank will therefore reduce the actual amount a farmer is supposed to pay back because of the natural loss the farmer incurred which was not his fault.”
There was also testimony of a man simply called Bala on how he made it in life from a humble background amidst mockery by friends.
Bala said, “When I was in government college in Kaduna, my father challenged me to learn how to drive a car. My father taught me how to drive a tanker. I got my driving licence in 1982. My school mates were making a mockery of me that I have turned myself into a motor boy. Today I am one of the top officials of NUPENG. Today I have two houses.
“I am married with 18 children. Some of them are graduates, others are undergraduates. Nobody should underrate a little business. Start something small to grow bigger. My wife has a grinding engine. She makes profits every day. And sometimes I borrow from her and pay her back later.”