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Agriculture

Anchor Borrower: 6 Nasarawa rice farmers get tractor loan

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The Nasarawa state chapter of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) on Tuesday received six tractors under the Federal Government Anchor Borrower’s Scheme.

Alhaji Ramalan Abbas, the chairman of the association in the state disclosed this while presenting the tractors to the beneficiaries in Keffi.

Abbas said that the tractors would boost rice production in the state as well as the country at large.

He urged beneficiaries to make judicious use of the mechanised farming tool, so as to enhance rice production and food sufficiency in the country.

According to him, RIFAN in the state would continue to mobilise and educate rice farmers on modern techniques of farming.

“This gesture will further encourage rice farming in Nasarawa state and increase food security across the country in general,’’ Abbas said.

He noted that Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has already formulated modalities for the recovery of the tractor loan from the beneficiaries.

Abbas also urged rice farmers to reciprocate the gesture and ensure effective commitment towards massive production to improve their personal income and economic status of the state.

Mr Yahaya Jama, Director of Agriculture in the state’s Ministry of Agriculture, commended the Federal Government for the gesture.

He also restated the state government’s commitment to give agricultural sector the needed attention to ensure food sufficiency.

Earlier, Mr Tashi Jonathan, CBN Head of Development Finance in Lafia, urged beneficiaries to ensure timely payment of the loan.

He expressed the bank’s readiness to boost agricultural production in the country.

Awayi Kuje: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Economy

3 vessels await anchorage at Delta ports — NPA

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The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on Thursday says three ships laden with Wheat, Butane gas and others are awaiting anchorage at the Delta Ports.

The NPA disclosed this in its daily publication, ‘shipping position’ a copy of which was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Warri.

According to the publication, the vessels were: Remi: MV African Jacaranda and MT LPG Laperouse and they are awaiting anchorage at the Escravos and Koko anchorage.

“Two of the vessels are to discharge Wheat and Butane gas at Escravos and Koko anchorage respectively, while the other is at the Escravos for maintenance,” the publication stated.

The Authority said that six ships laden with fuel and others were waiting at the Fair bouy to discharge products.

The publication also stated that nine vessels laden with fuel, bitumen, steel billet and other products were being expected at the Delta ports between May 22 and May 30.

NPA made three declarations on MT Matrix S Ilu, MT St Ilhaam and S L Aremu all laden with PMS on Thursday,” the authority stated.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Agriculture

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

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

President of the Association, Dr. Bello Abubakar, made the call on Friday in Abuja, while speaking on the effect of the lockdown on agricultural activities.

Abubakar said the call followed the loss 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 have suffered, especially irrigation farmers and early planting farmers who have 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 be 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.

Abubakar said the move was  a commendable one as the whole 70,000 metric tonnes, excluding the ones that went to processors, were 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 loan, instead of using contractors that often shortchanged them.

The CBN is giving our farmers loan 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 pay them, instead of paying N15, 000 per 100 kg to contractors, who in turn buy at N8, 500  from the farmers,” he added.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore
(NAN)

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General news

I anchored my faith in God, says UCH MD as he relives COVID-19 experience

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The Chief Medical Director of University College Hospital(UCH), Ibadan,  Prof. Jesse Otegbayo, took to Twitter to speak about his experience with coronavirus, saying he anchored his faith in God during what he described as “the dark period.”

The UCH boss expressed gratitude to God for the pleasant turn of events in a series of tweets posted via his @UchCmd on Thursday night.

“It made the news on Sunday, the 29th of March, 2020, that I tested positive for Covid-19, with details of the result indicating that I had low viral load and high CT (immunity index).

“As recommended by NCDC, repeat tests were conducted on Tuesday 31st of March, 2020 and Monday, 6th of April, 2020 and I’m pleased to declare that they both returned NEGATIVE.

” Throughout the dark period, I anchored my faith in God and declared His words over my life while taking recommended medications.

“I am deeply grateful to GOD for the pleasant turn of events and I say a big thank you to everyone for the prayers, love, messages and support shown me during this trying period.

“I am especially grateful to my wife, children, my extended family, to the pastors of Vine Branch Church, staff of the University College Hospital, Ibadan, entire indigenes of Otan Ile, Committee of CMDs/CEOs of Tertiary hospitals, staff of the University of Ibadan, friends and well wishers across the globe, and all the healthcare workers who were involved in my care.

“I appreciate the sacrifices made and I pray that the good Lord will repay your kindness,” he tweeted.

Otegbayo advised Nigerians to  adhere to the safety guidelines stipulated by the NCDC while also ensuring that they eat healthy to boost their immunity.

“As we all continue to adhere to NCDC safety guidelines for containing this pandemic, let us please pay attention to our personal hygiene, eat healthy, take measures that will boost our immune system and get good rest.

” Be vigilant and please, stay safe,” he said.

(
Edited By: Mufutau Ojo)
(NAN)

 

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APO

Algeria’s main lab anchors COVID-19 response

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When a sample sent to the referral laboratory in the capital Algiers gave a positive result, the Ministry of Health announced Algeria’s first COVID-19 case on 26 February, becoming the second African country to confirm the virus. Since then, dozens of people have caught the infection. Unlike years past, it now takes just two hours to analyse such specimen. In addition to speed, the laboratory is also striving to ensure testing integrity – an important cog in the efforts to halt the spread of COVID-19.

Sample collection, transportation and analysis are critical steps in detecting the virus. To be effective, the collection of laboratory samples must be done in accordance with strict rules.  The diagnostic test consists of a swab — a long stick with a piece of cotton or gauze at the end — taken from the throat and nose of the suspect case. “When suspect cases are sent to referral hospitals and placed in isolation, the samples are sent to our laboratory to confirm if they have COVID-19. Once the sample arrives at the lab, it is logged and placed in a microbiological security station for analysis,” says Dr Fawzi Derrar, the acting director of the Institut Pasteur d’Alger (IPA).

The collection is just the start of the process. Subsequent steps are crucial, too. “There are cases where samples are declared inadmissible. For example, it’s only valid if it’s accompanied by the right documentation,” Dr Jonas Nsenda Nkongolo, a World Health Organization (WHO) expert on infectious diseases, said during a Rapid Response Team training course in Algiers in early March. 

“Correct documentation should ensure that the identity of the person is clearly and legibly stated. When this is not done properly, the test result will not be assigned to the right person and as a result any measures that follow, such as isolation or care, will be distorted,” he added.

Handle with care

The IPA is working to overcome other challenges including the proper handling and transportation of samples to the laboratory in Algiers. “According to common standards, for precise results, the samples must be handled with the utmost care. Unfortunately, we have come across cases where the officers who transport the material mishandle it,” Dr Derrar explains, adding that training is essential to tackle such obstacles.

“It is also important to respect the timeframe for transporting the sample, and in particular, to ensure that it is stored and transported at a temperature of 4°C, so in a refrigerated cooler, say. If it is placed outside this ideal temperature, it no longer conforms to the standard. It must also be transported correctly and not placed in a horizontal position or upside down. For this reason, it is important to place the samples in a rack that indicates the direction of storage with an arrow to keep them upright throughout the journey,” he says.

“Long before this outbreak, WHO had already supported us through staff training. The support of WHO has helped us to perform better and we can now meet the high demand resulting from the coronavirus epidemic,” says Dr Derrar.

“In recent years, we have put in place uniform procedures for the receipt of samples and laboratory analysis. WHO has provided us with sufficient laboratory equipment, diagnostic tests, means of transport and detection kits. This has made a notable difference. A few years ago, especially for the MERS coronavirus in 2014, it took us a full day to confirm a case. With COVID-19, we get the results in two hours.” Dr Derrar explained that now only 0.1% of the samples are invalid. Since the start of the outbreak the laboratory has received some 3000 samples of which 302 turned out positive for COVID-19 as of 25 March 2020.

Decentralizing

As the coronavirus epidemic was spreading in other regions, WHO was already stepping up its support to African countries, in particular by providing laboratories such as the one at the IPA with a large quantity of test kits to strengthen their diagnostic capacity. To accelerate its capacity to diagnose COVID-19 and overcome the obstacles posed by the long distances involved in transporting samples, four laboratories have been identified in other Algerian provinces to serve as referral laboratories under the supervision of the IPA lab.

Given its expertise and the current context, the IPA has become a key player in the response to coronavirus, routinely consulted and involved in decision-making. “When we confirmed the coronavirus and with the trend we observed, our technical advice was to instantly limit the movement of people and put an end to mass gatherings in order to stop the spread of the disease,” says Derrar.

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Politics

Reps to probe CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme

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The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme (ABS) of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over non-recovery of N81.5 billion from companies.

This was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep. Sergius Ogun (PDP-Edo) at plenary on Thursday.

Moving the motion, Ogun said that the CBN in line with its mandate, established the scheme  which was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2015.

He said that the idea was to create a link between anchor companies involved in processing and Small Holder Farmers (SHFs) of key agricultural commodities.

Ogun said that the thrust of the ABS was provision of loans to SHFs to boost production of key agricultural commodities like rice, maize, wheat, cotton, roots and tubers crops among others.

“Out of the N104.2 billion provided by CBN for the Scheme, a total of N86.6 billion was disbursed to the anchor companies and the sum of N81.5 billion is yet to be recovered from the defaulting anchor companies.

“With the non-recovery of the outstanding N81.5 billion other potential small holder farmers who will have been beneficiaries of the scheme are being denied the opportunity to benefit from the scheme,” he said.

The lawmaker said that the non-recovery of the said balance of the loan from the anchor companies was negatively affecting the overall objective of the scheme.

In his ruling, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila mandated the Committees on Agricultural Production and Services and Banking and Currency to investigative the issue and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.

Edited By: Cecilia Odey/Ali Baba-Inuwa
(NAN)

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Agriculture

Anchor borrowers: Farmers urge FG to investigate NIRSAL

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Coalition of farmers under the auspices of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has urged the Federal Government to investigate the activities of the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).

The association, which included Tomatoes Farmers Association, Maize Farmers Association, Farfajiya 1 Rice Farmers Cooperative Association among others made the call at a peaceful march on Wednesday in Abuja.

The associations were holding some placards with various inscriptions such as:

“NIRSAL is a fraud. NIRSAL is killing farmers”, “Anchor borrowers programme is a lie’’.

“CBN NIRSAL is diverting farmers’ money’’.

“NIRSAL sits on N200 billion seed funds among others”.

Mr Buhari Kura, member of AFAN, Kano State, who noted that NIRSAL under CBN was saddled with the responsibility of giving loans to farmers to boost their farming activities, however, alleged that the organisation had denied the farmers of loans.

He decried that members of the association that were supposed to be direct beneficiaries of the loans were not given, describing the problem as a big gap in the nation’s  bid to achieve food security.

“Our association engaged in dry season farming, wet season farming and all kinds of farming in tomatoes, rice, maize, cucumber among others but to our dismay the organisation is not doing what is supposed to do.

“NIRSAL is not taking care of the farmers, we that are supposed to be the direct beneficiaries of the organisation service do not even benefit from these loans and this is a serious challenge to our farming activities.

“We are calling on the concerned authorities to please investigate the activities of NIRSAL, and to please come to our aid and rescue our situation because the leadership of the organisation is almost collapsing.

“We want the National Assembly, the Speaker, House Committee on Agriculture, the Senate Committee on Agriculture and security agencies to please investigate the organisation’s activities if possible, government should change the leadership completely so that we can have what is due to us,” he said.

Mr Shehu Umar, member Tomatoes Farmers Association

frowned at the marginalisation of their members by NIRSAL.

Umar said that none of the association’s members had accessed the loan for the past three years.

He however urged the government to change the organisation’s leadership to actualise the purpose of establishing the organisation, adding that it was set up to meet the demands of active farmers.

Similarly, Abdullahi Ibrahim, Secretary, Small Holders Farmers Association, Kano State, said the essence of the march was to impress on government their demands.

Ibrahim said that some of the members including himself, had applied for the loan through the organisation two to three times but no response.

“We want to improve our agricultural production but no support. Up till now no help is given to farmers for over three years. ‘’

Mr Farfajiya Gambo, Farfajiya 1 Rice Farmers Cooperative Association said the peaceful march was for the association to exercise their constitutional rights.

Gambo said that it was to draw attention to the difficulties facing the agricultural sector and as well solicit government intervention.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that all efforts to get reactions of the Managing Director of NIRSAL proved abortive.

However, an official of the organisation in the Media Department, who did not want the name mentioned, told NAN that an official statement would be issued on the matter.

NIRSAL is a 500million dollars Non-Bank Financial Institution wholly-owned by the CBN, was created to redefine, measure, re-price and share agribusiness-related credit risks in Nigeria.

It was established in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and Nigerian Bankers’ Committee in 2013.

NIRSAL’s mandate is to stimulate the flow of affordable finance and investments into the agricultural sector by de-risking the agribusiness finance value chain, fixing agricultural value chains, building long-term capacity and institutionalising incentives for agricultural lending through its five strategic pillars.

The pillars are Risk Sharing, Insurance, Technical Assistance, Incentives and Rating.

Edited By: Grace Yussuf
(NAN)

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Metro

Ogun Govt. to employ additional 75,000 youths for CBN Anchor Programme

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Gov. Dapo Abiodun of Ogun says the state government will employ an additional 75,000 youths for the State Anchor Programme Scheme being supported by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Abiodun made this known to State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday.

According to him, the state government has already employed 14,000 people when the scheme was inaugurated, saying the CBN has made Ogun the model for the South West.

“We also came to discuss with the President what we are doing in agriculture and the support that we need for that. We have gotten enough support today, we have attributed it to the President food security programme.

“We have launched the Anchor Programme Scheme, today the CBN has made Ogun State the model state for the South West, we have employed about 14,000 people last eight month in that programme between now and end of the year we hope to employ another 50,000 to 75,000 in that programme.

“You will agree with me that each person is about three other people by multiplying effect.

“So, we have come to solicit for support of the President with further needed support of the CBN and the federal government in the agricultural programme.

“These are the things that we came to discuss with Mr President and I am glad to say that we got a lot of attention; we got a lot of support and that we should be seeing that manifest in the next few weeks,’’ he added.

The governor further disclosed that he requested for the transfer of  Shagamu to Ikorodu road to Lagos and Ogun state governments for proper maintenance.

He said the call had become imperative in view of the socio-economic viability of the road, saying “it is in that road that we have the biggest NNPC depot.”

“There are so many factories on that road and most of these factories have gone moribund.

“Trucks drivers are also refusing to go and load on that road. If that road is transfer to both Lagos and Ogun state, we will commercialize it we will have these road rehabilitated, constructed and upgraded.’’

Abiodun revealed that already the two States had secured the necessary financial support for the reconstruction of the affected road, if released by the federal government.

He added: “On the 26thof this month by the grace of God, we will be turning the sword on the Ijebu-Ode to Epe road. This is a state road, Lagos state has done it to their border, we are completing the 14 kilometers between that border and Ogun state and that road will be completed in one year.

“But I believe that when that road is completed, people coming from the east, Ondo, Ijebu, Ibadan will have an option, they don’t have to go to Lagos – Ibadan expressway.

“This will ease the ability to do business in Ogun State. These are one of the things we came to discuss with Mr President.’’

Edited By: Felix Ajide

 

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Agriculture

Anchor Borrowers Programme : 40,000 rice farmers to benefit in Kano

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A total of 40, 000 registered farmers under the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), in Kano state will benefit from the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme during the 2020 dry season farming.

Alhaji Ado Hassan, the state’s  RIFAN Secretary, disclosed this to the Nigeria News Agency , on Monday in Kano.

He said the association had concluded arrangements for the distribution of fertilizers and other inputs to the farmers next week.

According to him, each of the beneficiaries will collect fertilizers, certified seeds, water pumping machines, sprayers, herbicides as well as empty bags for storing their commodity after harvest.

He explained that the farmers were expected to collect the items as the total package of the loan for cultivating one hectare, while those cultivating two to three hectares would receive the package commensurate with the size of their farm.

He said the association also intend to offer tractor hiring service to the beneficiaries at subsidised rates of between 25 per cent and 30 per cent.

“We have 20 tractors on ground and we are also expecting 30 more as they are on their way to Kano.

“So, we intend to assist our members with the tractor hiring service by charging them less than the normal rates charged by private owners,” he said.

Hassan said the number of farmers to benefit from the programme this year was higher than those that benefited in 2019.

“No fewer than 7, 000 or 10, 000 registered women rice farmers out of the total number of beneficiaries will partake in the irrigation activities this dry season farming.

“During the 2019 irrigation season, only 25, 000 rice farmers were able to access the Federal government’s intervention under the Anchor Borrower Programme,” he said.

Edited By: Folasade  Adeniran and Isaac Ukpoju

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Agriculture

Anchor Borrower Programme: Rice farmers in Kebbi record 3.5m metric tons harvest

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The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), in Kebbi, says it has recorded bumper harvest of 3.5 million metric tones of rice in the rainy season in the state.

The Chairman of the association in the state,Alhaji Muhammad Augie, made the disclosure in an interactive session with newsmen in Birnin Kebbi on Wednesday.

“Our farmers recorded bumper harvest of 1.5 million metric tones after President Muhammadu Buhari launched the Anchored Borrower programme in Nov. 17, 2015.

“Prior to the programme, we did have 700,000 metric tons, but the first year of the programme, we got 1.5 million metric tons and since then, the output keeps on increasing.

“Our last harvest now was 3.5 millions metric tons which is above 150 percentage.

“Owing to the success we had recorded in 2016, the nearby countries of Mali, Cameroon, Niger and Benin republics came to Kebbi state in 2016 and thereafter, to buy our paddy rice?,” he said.

“The rice mills in the state are still sourcing their paddy rice in the state from our farmers?

“I can’t just imagine how the anchor borrowers could be diverted by anybody,  considering the processes, criteria farmers must met before they were given the money by Bank of Agriculture (BOA).

“We have all the prove, documents that these money went to the genuine farmers in the state “, Augie said.

The chairman also explained that, the only challenged the association faced was the challenge of recovering of the loan.

According to him, out of 70,000 farmers that benefitted, about 200 have fully paid up.

 

An official of the Anchor Borrower in the state, Abubakar  Udulu , said that farmers received N12.8 billion as disbursed by the Bank of Agriculture as loan to the rice farmers in the state.

 

“Each of the beneficiary was directed to open an account with the Bank through which the farmer would receive the package of the loan.

 

” The package covered both in kind and cash,” he said.

Udulu said that not all farmers collected the full amount of the loan because the cash was not disbursed at once but installmentally based on the stages of production.

Earlier, the Branch Head of the Bank of Agriculture in the state, Alhaji Aliyu Zurmi, buttressed the explanation of anchored borrower members that the money was disbursed to the farmers through the bank.

He maintained that the state government had nothing to do with the disbursement of the loan which the BOA disbursed to registered farmers across the 21 local government areas in the state.

“We disbursed the loan ourselves, the state government has no hand in it; it just served as guarantor for the famers,” Zurmin said. .

Edited By: Isaac Ukpoju

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General news

Secure Anchorage Area Contract suspended — Amaechi

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The  Secure Anchorage Area contract is officially  suspended, the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi said on Monday.

According to Amaechi, the operation of the SecureAnchorage Area Contract was suspended because it is illegal to create anchorage for purposes of providing security.

Amaechi spoke at a media briefing on the Deep Blue project organised by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in Lagos.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that a Secure Anchorage Area is an area outside the Lagos port that the Nigerian Navy, with a private company, has defined as a secure place where vessels can anchor safely from the threat of pirate attack.

The secure anchorage area was in contention between the Nigerian Ports Authority and the Ocean Marine Services Ltd., who were providing security at the anchorage.

The NPA dismantled the Secure Anchorage Area (SAA) operated by OMSL over security concerns.

It insisted that provision of security in the nation’s waters is not a business venture, but a constitutional responsibility of the NIMASA, Nigerian Navy and Marine Police.

Amaechi said: “I took the decision to stop the secure Anchorage project, because the issue is that an individual cannot protect a country; it shows that there is a failure in the system.

“Government must protect both persons and investment to ensure orderliness,” he said.

The minister said that government was reintroducing a maritime architecture that would ensure that infrastructure was in place to safeguard the country’s waterways.

He said that the upsurge of threats and insecurity on the waterways was alarming and people doing business on the waters were getting worried, hence the need to reassure them that all was well.

Amaechi noted that NIMASA was on top of the situation.

He said that government was paying a huge amount of money for survelliance, and this would ensure that crime on the waterways stop.

“Those that go into the water do not live in the water; those criminals live with us, and the military both in terms of intelligence and physical assets will go and comb them out.

“Problem of insecurity is a problem of hunger, education and poverty and so we need to invest in infrastructure which will create employment for the poor man,” the added.

The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside, said that the country was not handing over its waterways to the Israeli to man.

According to him, they are there to provide training and assets for the security operatives who will man the assets on the country’s waterways.

“Let me first correct this impression; the country was not handing over its waterways for the Israeli to man, but for them to give their services in terms of training,” he said.

Peterside noted that 80 per cent of the assets for ensuring security of the waterways would be in the country by June and would be manned by the security operatives trained.

He listed some of the assets  to include six interseptor boats,  six armoured vehicles, helicopter and special mission vehicles. 

Edited By: Vivian /Oluwole Sogunle

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Economy

CBN mobilises 140,848 tomato farmers for Anchor Borrowers Programme

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has mobilised and validated 140,848 tomato farmers for the Anchor Borrowers Programme.

The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele disclosed this at the Ground-Breaking ceremony of Tomato Jos at Kangimi community in Kaduna on Monday.

Tomato Jos is an American owned company aimed to transform smallholder farmers from subsistence growers into commercial producers.

The company has a 500 hectres of land with potential to cultivate tomato of 400 hectres and it is expected to begin production in 2021.

Emefiele said the beneficial farmers were selected from

various Tomato Farmers Associations across 25 States in the country.

He explained that the farmers would be linked to proximal processors where applicable, or financed to produce fresh fruits for direct consumption, which

constituted the largest use of tomato in the country.

“We are also partnering with other big players in the tomato value chain like Dangote Tomato Processing Ltd, Sonia Foods, GB Foods (GBF), Vegefresh Company Ltd. and a host of others.

“This is with a view to ensuring that Nigeria becomes self-sufficient  in tomato, and our Processing companies, functioning at full capacity and employıing millions of Nigerian youths.

“My presence here today is a demonstration of CBN’S preparedness to partner with the private sector to facilitate the development of Nigeria’s agricultural sector through our various programmes and Schemes like Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS), Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP),.

“Others like Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF), Agri-business/Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) among others” he said.

Emefiele commended the Management of Tomato Jos company for flagging off this processing plant which had the potential of creating employment for hundreds of Kaduna State indigenes and other Nigerians in general.

He expressed hope that the Management of the company would remain focussed and not be compromised so as to ensure the sustainability of the project.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza

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Agriculture

Over 10m farmers nationwide benefit from anchor borrowers programme -RIFAN

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No fewer than 10 million farmers nationwide have benefited from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Programmes, National Deputy Secretary, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Alhaji Iliyasu Awodi has said.

Awodi made this known in an interview the Nigeria News Agency in Abuja on Wednesday.

NAN reports that CBN anchor borrowers programme was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on Nov. 17, 2015.

It is intended to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in agro-processing and small holder farmers of the required key agricultural commodities.

While noting the benefits of the scheme to farmers, Awodi said that the multiplier effect of the programme was enormous.

“More than 10 million are engaged through the programme nationwide and it has helped in job creation.

“Farmers and millers are employing many people at the grassroots. For example in Kura, Kano, you could see the number of people employed,” he said.

On the quality of rice produced in the country, Awodi said:“We are already competing with the international community since we can produce our rice with the same quality being produced abroad.

“Already there are countries within Africa and in the Middle East that are now planning to buy our rice and that is why RIFAN is intensifying efforts to ensure we have enough rice not only to feed Nigerians but to export”.

The deputy secretary RIFAN advised the Federal Government to keep Nigeria’s land borders closed for a further period to put in place measures that would completely eliminate smuggling and revenue loss to the country.

“So the status quo should be maintained until sanity is brought to the borders,” he said.

Edited by: Bayo Sekoni/Isaac Aregbesola

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Agriculture

Anchor Borowers’ Programme: Nasarawa RIFAN urges members to repay loans

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Alhaji Abbas Ramallan, Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Nasarawa State Chapter, has urged it’s members, to repay the farm inputs loan they received under the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.

Ramallah made  the call at the Wet Season Loan Recovery meeting with local government and zonal chairmen of RIFAN held in Keffi, on Sunday.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Programme was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on Nov. 17, 2015.

It is intended to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in the processing and small holder farmers (SHFs) of the required key agricultural commodities.

Ramallan noted that the programme started in the state in 2018 and no fewer than 20, 000 farmers had benefited so far.

Disturbed by the non-payment of the loan facility which was in the form of farm inputs, the chairman said that the items given to farmers in the state was on loan basis and not for free.

He said that the loan to be repaid was converted to bags of paddy which was based on the number of hectares of land cultivated.

“It is not charity; it is a revolving loan. We should do things that our children will benefit from in years to come.

“Any loan given must be paid. Individuals signed indemnity with RIFAN, as well as for others and accessed the loan so it must be paid to the last kobo. I will make sure they pay.

“The year 2020 is a year of hard work. And we must achieve our aim in the year.

“A situation where you indemnify someone that is not capable of repaying you should know you are liable and you will face the wrath of the law,’’ he said.

While stating that the state was expected to provide 50,000 bags of paddy for the loan recovery, Ramallan gave the farmers a time frame of Jan. 30 to pay up at least 80 per cent of the loan.

He, however, commended President Buhari for the effort at diversifying the economy through agriculture with the collateral-free loan for farmers in the country at large.

National Deputy Secretary of RIFAN, Alhaji Iliyasu Awodi, said that there were bags of paddy to be collected and those already collected was a far cry from what was envisaged.

“The last time we were at CBN, we learnt that there will be no anchor borrower if the association fails to pay 75 per cent of the loans collected.’’

He said that if the programme was truncated, there would be a big problem for Nigerians because rice was one of the major staple food in the country.

He therefore urged the farmers to ensure prompt payment of the loan collected for government’s effort not to be in vain.

Also speaking, Alhaji Samaila Rukuba, RIFAN Consultant on Debt Recovery said that the association was an emerging platform that would ensure food security in the country.

“In spite of the border closure, we spent Christmas and New Year with enough rice. All sabotaging efforts failed,’’ he said.

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Anchor Borowers’Programme: RIFAN In Nasarawa State urges members to repay loans

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Alhaji Abbas Ramallan, Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Nasarawa State Chapter, has urged it’s members, to repay the farm inputs loan they received under the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.

Ramallah made  the call at the Wet Season Loan Recovery meeting with local government and zonal chairmen of RIFAN held in Keffi, on Sunday.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Programme was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on Nov. 17, 2015.

It is intended to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in the processing and small holder farmers (SHFs) of the required key agricultural commodities.

Ramallan noted that the programme started in the state in 2018 and no fewer than 20, 000 farmers had benefited so far.

Disturbed by the non-payment of the loan facility which was in the form of farm inputs, the chairman said that the items given to farmers in the state was on loan basis and not for free.

He said that the loan to be repaid was converted to bags of paddy which was based on the number of hectares of land cultivated.

“It is not charity; it is a revolving loan. We should do things that our children will benefit from in years to come.

“Any loan given must be paid. Individuals signed indemnity with RIFAN, as well as for others and accessed the loan so it must be paid to the last kobo. I will make sure they pay.

“The year 2020 is a year of hard work. And we must achieve our aim in the year.

“A situation where you indemnify someone that is not capable of repaying you should know you are liable and you will face the wrath of the law,’’ he said.

While stating that the state was expected to provide 50,000 bags of paddy for the loan recovery, Ramallan gave the farmers a time frame of Jan. 30 to pay up at least 80 per cent of the loan.

He, however, commended President Buhari for the effort at diversifying the economy through agriculture with the collateral-free loan for farmers in the country at large.

National Deputy Secretary of RIFAN, Alhaji Iliyasu Awodi, said that there were bags of paddy to be collected and those already collected was a far cry from what was envisaged.

“The last time we were at CBN, we learnt that there will be no anchor borrower if the association fails to pay 75 per cent of the loans collected.’’

He said that if the programme was truncated, there would be a big problem for Nigerians because rice was one of the major staple food in the country.

He therefore urged the farmers to ensure prompt payment of the loan collected for government’s effort not to be in vain.

Also speaking, Alhaji Samaila Rukuba, RIFAN Consultant on Debt Recovery said that the association was an emerging platform that would ensure food security in the country.

“In spite of the border closure, we spent Christmas and New Year with enough rice. All sabotaging efforts failed,’’ he said.

Edited by: Abigael Joshua/Sadiya Hamza

 

 

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119 Edo cassava farmers for FG’s Anchor Borrowers Scheme

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No fewer than 119 cassava farmers in Edo North are to benefit from the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrowers Scheme which has been launched in the senatorial district.

The farmers make up the first batch of beneficiaries of the CBN’s scheme which will be anchored in the district by two indigenous agro companies, the Elephant Group and H2Foods Nigeria Limited.

The Anchor Borrowers Scheme is a programme initiated by the Federal Government to link food processing companies to small holder farmers in rural areas and is being implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

A statement issued by the Chief Executive Officer of one of the anchors, H2AFoods, Dr. Tony Bello, in Abuja said that the agro companies were excited to improve and transform lives in the senatorial district.

He pledged to elevate cassava to the status of cash crop and to package it into a delicious and nutritious consumer food for the world.

According to Bello, if potato and maize could be transformed into snacks in America and Europe, it is high time to apply proven scientific and engineering principles to make cassava a cash cow for millions of smallholder farmers in Nigeria and Africa at large.

“We are excited about having the booths on the ground in Auchi and Ubiaja to begin our journey of improving lives and transforming foods in Nigeria, starting with Edo.

“In our strategic partnerships with both private and public sector and institutional investors, we are prepared to elevate cassava into a cash crop for export to the United States and Europe.

“By leveraging our expertise in food science and technology, we shall transfer to transform cassava into delicious and nutritious packaged consumer food products for the world,” he said.

The leader of the benefiting farmers, Alhaji Mohammed Momodu said that the traditional leaders and all relevant stakeholders had worked tirelessly to bring private sector-led programme to the district.

Also, the CEO of Elephant Group,
Mr Tunji Owoeye said they were proud of the support of the CBN and Edo State government in facilitating the transaction in support of our geo-cooperative farmers.

Owoeye expressed gratitude for the continued support of Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo, the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emiefele and African Man of the Year, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

He said that the farmers were confident of having their dreams which is to transform cassava into great tasting food products come to pass.

It could be recalled that Governor Obaseki announced the partnership between Edo State Government, H2AFoods and Elephant Group In April, 2018.

Obaseki and Emiefele expressed investment interest to scale-up cassava during the launching of Edo State Oil Palm Programme held in Benin City.

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Why CBN must transfer Anchor Borrowers Programme to Agric Ministry – Sen. Adamu

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The Chairman, National Agricultural Foundation, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, has restated the need for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to hand over administration of the Anchor Borrowers Programme and other agricultural programmes.

Adamu, who made this known in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency , in Abuja, urged the CBN to handover agricultural programmes to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD).

The senator said it was high time CBN allowed FMARD carry out its mandate through the various agencies under it, adding that the mandate of the apex bank was to act as referee or monitor financial transactions and not taking over the function of any ministry.

The lawmaker, former governor of Nasarawa State, is also the Chairman Senate Committee on Agriculture.

According to him, the agency of government that has the mandate for the promotion of agricultural production generally is domiciled in the Ministry of Agriculture and there is a bank called the Bank of Agriculture.

“It is supposed to be the agency through which financing of agricultural loan and other facilities to empower farmers of various categories to benefit and get necessary funding be domiciled.

“The bank of Agriculture is better placed like the Bank of Industry (BOI) as development banks to take responsibility in administering money from government that is aimed at promoting agricultural production in the country.

“The Central Bank has no mandate for agriculture. Where they have these funds, the best thing to do is to give it to the ministry of agriculture to manage, because some of these out-grower programmes we are talking about, their cost to the government is more than the budget of the federal ministry of agriculture itself.”

The chairman noted that a programme like the Anchor Borrowers Programme, currently domiciled in the CBN was a mismatch, adding that it fell within the purview of the Bank of Agriculture (BOA).

He said while there was no doubt that the BOA was in distress, rather than CBN usurping its mandate, efforts should be made at recapitalising it to be better positioned to carry out its mandate.

He said, “the Anchor Borrowers Programme for example, if you check how much money has gone in there as from 2016, 2017 to date, you will find out that the money is over and above, about four times the budget provision for ministry of agric in its entirety.

“I believe that it is not within the mandate of the Central Bank of Nigeria as the apex and monitoring bank to get involved with loan facilities because they are the referee in financial sector.

“Now when they begin to give loans and there is default from beneficiaries of the loans, who is going to be the referee.

“The Central Bank has put itself in a very precarious situation. The same Central Bank of Nigeria as I talk to you today has not paid up its capital for recapitalising the bank of agriculture since 1974 when the agric bank was established.

“So, it is in distress, there is no doubt about it and everybody knows why it is in distress. Till this very moment, both the Ministry of Finance and the CBN have not lived up to their responsibilities of recapitalising the bank of agriculture.”

On efforts to reposition the agricultural sector, Adamu said, as chairman senate committee on agriculture, he had proposed several bills that would impact the sector positively, saying, “I have about seven bills in the mill, going through parliamentary processes to be passed into law.”

According to him, the bills are, Food Reserve Agency of Nigeria Bill, Research Council Reform Bill, Agric Mechanisation Bill and Agricultural Development Fund Bill among others.

He commended Nigerian farmers for their efforts at ensuring food security in the country despite the challenges they were facing.

He, however, challenged them to adopt new technologies to reap from the potentials available in all value chains in the agricultural process.

He promised that the legislature would continue to play its part in ensuring that the interest of farmers and relevant stakeholders were protected.

Edited by: Felix Ajide

(NAN)

 

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Agriculture

Nigeria can feed other African countries through FG’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme – Institute

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Dr Ayobami Omotoso, President, Chartered Institute of Export and Commodity Brokers of Nigeria (CIECOBON), says that Nigeria will feed its citizens and other African countries with the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) of the Federal Government.

Omotoso made the assertion during the 2019 Award Presentation Ceremony held at the Institute’s Secretariat in Lagos on Thursday.

According to him, the Federal Government is readily available to assist farmers through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme and other windows through which money was released by Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) Plc.

According to him, NIRSAL is an organ of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that renders financial assistance to farmers, small and medium enterprises.

NIRSAL also has the mandate to stimulate the flow of affordable finance and investments into the agricultural sector by de-risking the agribusiness finance value chain and institutionalising incentives for agricultural lending through its five strategic pillars, namely: Risk Sharing, Insurance, Technical Assistance, Incentives and Rating.

With the support of government, Nigeria can now feed herself and even Africa as a whole. What we just need to do is to retrace our steps back to farm, process the commodities and make good gains.

The era of white collar job has come and gone. We need more entrepreneurs to grow our commodities for the local industries that will give employment to Nigerians and sell at international markets.

We appreciate the effort of the present administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari for closing the borders which is now of more benefits and gains to Nigeria,” Omotoso said.

He urged members to be ready to serve to improve the standard of the institute.

Omotoso appealed to stakeholders for support to enable the institute pay the N2. 5 million loan used in renting another befitting secretariat, saying that the institute also needed 1million to furnish the secretariat.

He said that the institute honoured five founders with meritorious award; seven with Associates; 13 people with full membership; and 28 people with Fellows.

One of the awardees, His Royal Majesty, Oba Ezekiel Oladele, Olupole of Ipole Iloro Ekiti, commended the government’s effort which had yielded success in farming business in the state.

The monarch said that the people of Ekiti had been exporting cocoa and cashew, saying that presently he had been encouraging the people to start exporting yams.

Oladele said that Ekiti State had improved in farming of quality rice, to be available for export in future.

He commended the efforts of the management of the institute for extending an award to him and promised to support the association with advice.

The Director-General, Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association, Mr Hamma Kwajaffa, who represented Mr Umar Goni-Iya-Ahmed, urged Nigerian farmers to improve on their farming to enable them have reserve for export which he said would boost the foreign reserve of Nigeria Economy.

He called on the regulatory authorities to provide adequate laboratory to examine the commodities in order to stop the rejection of exportable products.

One of the beneficiaries of CIECOBON’s awards, Mrs Oluwakemi Adeyiga, said she would support other members to contact as many countries as possible to find out what the farmers were doing wrong that caused constant rejection of expert commodities.

Edited by: Josephine Obute/Adeleye Ajayi
(NAN)
(NAN)

 

The Registrar of CIECOBON, Mr Samuel Adenuga; a Fellow, Paul Adiwu; President, Chartered Institute of Export and Commodity Brokers of Nigeria (CIECOBON), Dr Ayobami Omotoso, while presenting certificate of Fellow of the institute to Adiwu, during the 2019 Award Presentation Ceremony held at the institute’s secretariat in Lagos on Thursday.

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FG’s Anchor Borrowers Programme big support to farmers — association

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Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPMAN), has commended the Federal Government Anchor Borrowers Programme initiative, saying it is a big support to farmers in Nigeria.

Dr Edwin Uche, the National president of MAGPMAN said this at a National Stakeholders Meeting held on Thursday in Abuja.

According to Uche, the programme is a big support to maize farmers as well as every player in the maize value chain and other commodity value chain in Nigeria.

We must again commend the FG for sustaining the programme, for sustainability is the key,’’ he said.

He added that there were other programmes of the Federal Government with duration that was not as lasting as the Anchor Borrowers Programme which had been running for six years now.

The national president said that the meeting was designed for all key players in the maize value chain in order to appraise the progress as well as address challenges that existed in the value chain.

He said that the meeting was also aimed at providing solutions for the upcoming year in the area of price.

We also look at issues that border on challenges among our farmers in Anchor Borrowers Programme and other programmes of the government.

We also look at policies that borders on health related issues and how to deal with the commodity, land and tractorisation and market performance which are key issues for us,’’ Uche said.

According to him, MAGPAMAN is the apex body driving maize value chain in Nigeria and has structure in every local government and state in Nigeria including the FCT.

He said the association provides support to farmers, finance to agriculture, and access to capacity, mechanisation, technology and exposure based on global best practices in agriculture.

The national president also said the association drives agriculture from the concept of agribusiness, ensuring there was profitability to agriculture.

Uche said MAGPAMAN was also introducing other agricultural programmes to farmers in order to ensure that they benefited from Federal Government’s intervention.

We have a strong structure that has capacity to drive home agriculture and ensure food security in Nigeria, and the whole concept is to ensure that farmers earn value and profitability,’’ he said.

Dr Bello Dogondeji, the Chairman of Federation of Agricultural Commodity Association of Nigeria (FACAN), said maize was an important commodity in the commodity business worldwide.

Dogondeji, in his good will message drew attention to the quick commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) signed by President Muhammadu Buhari in June.

If we consider maize as one of the staple food in the world, that means we can trade with our maze within and across our continent.

By July 2020, I think the AFCTA will be fully operational so our strategy should be toward that,’’ he said.

The FACAN chairman urged the association to double its efforts in sensitising farmers about recent agricultural developments.

Dr Adam Saffer, representative of U.S. Aid made a presentation on Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity: Overview for MAGPAMAN.

He said many products were being produced from maize, stressing the need to invest in the sector as agriculture was going through a revolution.

According to Saffer, agriculture can be the mainstay of the economy if mechanisation is achieved as it will go a long way in encouraging the youth to go into agriculture.

Edited by: Ese E. Ekama
(NAN)
(NAN)

 

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Anchor Borrowers:CBN tasks cotton farmers on prompt repayment of agric loans

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has called on the 30, 000 cotton farmers in Kano state, who benefited from agric loan under the Anchor Borrowers programme to ensure prompt repayment of the facility.

Kano CBN Branch Controller, Alhaji Ali Abdulkadir made the call at the flag off of Recovery of Cotton Outputs for 2019 planting season, organised by the National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTA), on Tuesday in Kano.

He reminded cotton farmers, who benefited from the facility, not to delay in the repayment as the loan was a revolving one which other farmers were expected to benefit in subsequent years.

The beneficiaries should come willingly and pay because it is essential that they pay back so that others can also benefit. If they don’t pay it means they’re trying to terminate the programme.

It should be a revolving fund, as you collect, you produce, you sell and then pay the loan so that others that have not benefited earlier can also benefit,” he said.

Abdulkadir said no fewer than 30, 000 registered cotton farmers who collected the loans were expected to repay the facility pointing out that each of them received N174, 000, including inputs and cash as total loan package.

I am advising the leadership of the association to embark on an aggressive recovery because the loan was given to farmers through the association and it is the association that can identify the farmers,” he said.

The branch controller explained that the CBN had also extended similar loans to rice and wheat farmers as well as farmers producing other commodities to enhance food production in line with the President Muhammadu Buhari’s policy on food security.

Earlier in his remarks, Kano Deputy Governor, Dr Nasiru Gawuna who was also the state’s Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural development, enjoined farmers to repay their loans so that others could benefit from the programme in future.

Gawuna, represented by Director, Admin and General services, in the ministry Hajiya Zahra Sulaiman commended the cotton farmers for setting the pace for others to follow in the repayment of the loan.

Also speaking, the state chairman of NACOTAN, Alhaji Lawan Aliyu commended the Federal Government for including cotton farmers in the Anchor Borrowers programme.

He said this would go along way in enhancing the living standard of farmers in addition to ending the importation of the commodity.

Edited by: Chidi Opara/Ali Baba-Inuwa
(NAN)
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Anchor borrowers’ programme: Jigawa RIFAN to drag loan defaulters to court

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The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) in Jigawa, said it would institute a legal action against its members, who failed to repay farm inputs loan they received under the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.

Alhaji Adamu Maigoro, the RIFAN’s chairman in the state told the Nigeria News Agency in Hadejia on Tuesday that the association had already hired a lawyer to prosecute the case.

He said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through the association, had in early 2018, distributed farm inputs worth N1.8 billion to 18,000 rice farmers in the state.

Maigoro, however, lamented that for more than one year after the inputs were distributed to the farmers, only N200,000 was recovered from them.

“The Federal Government has made it clear to us that unless we recover between 30 and 40 per cent of the amount given to us, Jigawa will not be included in the 2020 edition of the programme.

“Therefore, we have engaged a lawyer to compel our members through the court to pay back what they received, so that other farmers can benefit from the programme in the future,” the chairman said.

On the 2020 dry season farming, he said that the association had so far registered more than 5,000 rice farmers in the state.

Maigoro said the association had targeted 70,000 farmers for the dry season farming, which would begin in January.

The chairman said interested farmers must be nominated by the executives of the association at the ward, local government or the state level to benefit from the federal government’s programme.

He said for each hectare, a farmer would receive N237, 000 worth of inputs such as seeds, fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides and sprayers.

Edited /Yemi Idris-Aduloju

 

 

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