Nigerian Farmers under Zero Hunger Commodity Farmers’ Association of Nigeria have identified late distribution of input to the beneficiaries of the Anchor Borrowers programme to be the major challenge of the scheme.
The association in a communiqué issued at the end of its meeting in Abuja, however, commended the Federal Government for sustaining the programme for two years through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The communiqué signed by the coordinator of the farmers’ group, Dr Tunde Arosanyin was made available to the Daily Times, on Sunday in Ilorin.
“The meeting commended the Anchor Borrowers Programme of the Federal Government through the CBN in accessing credit and input to farmers in the last two years.
“However it was noted that none farmers are also given input and credit as a means of political patronage which may derail the scheme.
“The meeting also noted late distribution of seed, chemicals and fertilizers to beneficiaries. Some of the inputs are substandard and has expired”, the communiqué read in part.
It also commended the establishment of the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending as well as the Nigerian Agricultural Foundation.
According to it, the two bodies which were in the attendance at the meeting are playing good roles in the agricultural sector of the national economy.
The association identified provision of input, credit facility at single digit interest rate and good market prices for farmers as critical factors that government must consider if agriculture was expected to drive the economy.
The meeting frowned at the delay in budget presentation and passage in the country, explaining that it was a major constraint to economic performance of the country.
It noted also that poor allocation to the agricultural sector in the last decade was a sign that the country was not yet ready to place agriculture in the right place.
The farmers therefore advised the federal government to urgently find a lasting solution to the incessant farmers/herdsmen crisis, warning that food shortage was imminent as most farmers could no longer attend their farms for fear of attack.
It commended the Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET) for providing accurate guide on weather to farmers in the country.