BY CHIBUZOR EMEJOR,
Rice farmers under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Programme[ADP], have cried out to the Federal Government to come to their assistance as their farms were submerged and ravaged by recent flood in many parts of the country.
It would be recalled that CBN under its ABP, has so far disbursed over N150billion to these rice farmers intended to boost rice production and end the importation of rice in Nigeria.
One of the beneficiaries, Alhaji Iliasu Awode, who made the plea in Abuja at the NEPAD Business Group 4th Nigeria Rice Investment Forum, said the Federal government should provide them with a lifeline that would help them regain their huge losses and repay the loan borrowed from CBN.
Awode, who also represented the National President of Rice farmers Association of Nigeria [RIFAN) lamented that the beneficiaries of the ABP have been incapacitated as they lack the means to pay back the loans.
He acknowledged that though the ADP had boosted rice production to 8 million metric tonnes, as of last farming season, but the unexpected floods had destroyed the gains.
He said that about 70 percent of their rice farms had been ravaged by the floods, adversely affecting about 365 farmers, and rendering the affected farmers to an unimaginable state of poverty.
According to him, “I must admit that there are many challenges on our ways, as we move to realise our goal, but we will surmount it.
“Unfortunately, recent floods in the country ravaged about 70 percent of our farms, and these farmers were beneficiaries of the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme.
“There is no doubt that the 2018 floods have done a lot of damage to this year’s rice production.
“ It affected 365 farmers who are direct beneficiaries of the Anchor Borrowers Programme.
“These farmers are bearing the burden of low repayments, having lost most of their crops. They do not have the capacity to repay the loan.
“We will however, solicit that another loan be disbursed to us during the dry season farming to enable them recoup their losses and repay their loan.”