By; BALA B .BITRUS, Minna
Only 3% of the 33,000 beneficiaries of the Nigeria’s apex bank sponsored anchor borrowers loan scheme project for rice farmers in Niger State have paid back their loan.
The default in payment by beneficiaries of the scheme may in the long run affect the expected wide spread and anticipated success of the programme even as more interest are being expressed by new comers into the scheme.
The number of rice farmers benefiting from the apex bank’s sponsored anchor borrowers scheme in Niger State has increased to over 3,600 persons.
Over 3,632 rice farmers are drawing down the credit facilities from the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) this year as part of rice farning acceleration programme of the federal government.
Chairman of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), in Niger State, Mahmmod D. Sani said about 24,933 farmers were expected to benefit from the CBN’s anchor borrowers scheme in the state this year alone.
Mahmood D. Sani who commended the loan scheme in the state, said the project has been of tremendous help to rice farmers in the state but regretted the default in payments by beneficiaries.
He disclosed that about 24,933 rice farmers from across the state were expected to benefit from the credit facility for the current wet cropping session.
He spoke in Kontagora at the flag off the distribution of farm inputs to farmers for the current wet session. Sani said the tractor hiring scheme lunched earlier for rice farmers in the state was to assist in boosting rice farming and increase yields.
But the CBN’s Minna branch office Coordinator of the anchor borrowers scheme and Head of Department, Finance Office, Manko Roffia, lamented the default in paying back the loan by beneficiaries of the loan.
Roffia disclosed that only a paltry 3% of the 33,000 farmers who collected the loan last year were able to pay back the loan.
The ancho borrowers scheme project coordinator for Minna branch office of the CBN urged all those who were yet to pay back the loan to do so promptly to enable others benefit from the loan scheme.