By Ado Hassan, Sokoto
Dr Kabiru Muhammad Adamu, Managing Director, Bank of Agriculture(BoA) on Monday said the bank had as at December 2017 disbursed N9.3 billion under its Micro credit scheme to 200,000 farmers as he expressed concern over the attitude of beneficiaries to repayments.
He described as corrupt practice the refusal and diverting agriculture loans to other uses other than for its primary purpose.
” Under the Islamic principle and practice, anyone owing money at the time of death, must be repaid if possible before he is buried or immediately after. This to show the burden associated to loans or credit facilities of any kind”, Adamu cited.
In the same vein, he disclosed that not less than N25bn had been made available to 140, 000 farmers and N10bn to 10,000 per state for Egg production from 2015 to date under the Anchor Borrower programme, stating that” we are working towards attaining 500,000 farmers target and
He noted that it was only in Nigeria that people don’t oblige to their responsibilities on loan repayments as if nothing is wrong or can be done on it.
According to him , ” only N5.5bn has so far been repaid. We are intensifying efforts to ensure beneficiaries pay what the are given as loan to enable others access the facility.”
Dr Adamu who spoke to reporters in Sokoto said for Nigeria to attain food sufficiency and security, stakeholders must be sincere and ready to display honesty and supportive role to ensure mass production, stressing that repayment attitude was a critical factor that would drive it to success.
He noted that the loans given to farmers ranging from small, medium and large scale categories were a revolving loan that should be taken serious in terms of repayment, stressing that” it is not a social intervention that as being misperceived by most people, thus refusing to repay.
” It is the most herculean task before the bank. Debt is a serious burden which should not be taken for granted. We are taking steps and measures to ensure repayments. We are working in collaboration with EFCC, state governments as well law enforcement agencies including legal actions to ensure repayments”, he pointed out.
Adamu hitherto said bank was doing a lot to recover the loans”we are providing incentives to staff to enable them follow up recoveries, engaged recovery agents on commission, state mobile courts. It has paid off in some states where we recovered over N100 million. We will continue the recovery efforts”, he assured.
He explained that the bank’s operations had been going through technological transformation with the introduction of automated data base to enhance and efficiently upgrade its activities as well capture relevant basic information and details of farmers and other direct and indirect beneficiaries of its intervention schemes and programmes .
” It will effectively assist our lending procedures and processes because every farmer’s BVN , land as well a national data registry for collateral is now in operation against any default. If any default, no bank will grant you loan of any kind.
“We have the Anchor Borrower, AADS, RiFAN, National Egg Production scheme among other intervention products”, he mentioned.
According to the bank’s Boss, ” our focal target is to efficiently and effectively support small holder farmer strata, build the capacity of women, youths, create employment and empowerment windows and ensure value addition.”
He however, said the capitalisation process by the bank from N10bn to N25bn was almost close to reality, explaining that ” the two major players are the CBN with 40% and Ministry of Finance incorporated to raise 60% so that the operations of the bank can efficiently be strengthen as an institution.
He explained that the bank was only commercially viable and sustainable to operate not as a profit oriented organ but to be efficient in value addition to the economy and stakeholders through various agriculture programmes
” We track farmers, input suppliers as well processes through a responsive mechanism otherwise, Programme Monitoring Team drawn from CBN, BoA, MoA, MoF among other critical stakeholders.
” I want to say that BoA is alive to its responsibilities and open to all agriculture associations for efficient services. We are set to take to the door steps of farmers. Our dream is to ensure genuine input are supplied, realise and exceed 500,000 targeted farmers for dry season”, he said.
Meanwhile, in an earlier remark at an interactive session shortly after a brief sensitization workshop for Rice farmers on Input Distribution Biometric Model, Dr Adamu commended CBN for the continued support and show of concern to the need for boosting the country’s drive for self sufficiency and security in food production.
” I commend CBN for its dispassionate zeal and commitment through sustainable partnership in support of Mr President’s enviable policy which we hope to get to the promise land”, he said.
He said BoA was focussing on mechanisation approach to improve on yields and rapid production capacity” will further ensure expansion on land use for accelerated agriculture scale in states of the federation. We have come up with a pilot programme that will guarantee us the window to open and operate an agriculture park through mechanisation.”
In his presentation, a Senior Manager, Development Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Musa Olasofu noted that the Northwest accounted for 80% of the total rice production of the country, thus remain the focal spot of the drive for food sufficiency agenda, while pointing out that input supply and distribution were the greatest challenges of the entire practical process of rice production under the schemes.
According to him” the biometrics would assist in providing valid information on land size, required input as well encourage distribution sequence through mapped outlets thus improve yields with quality supplies”, he mentioned.