The Bank of Agriculture (BoA) has said less than 10 per cent of beneficiaries of the Anchor Borrowers Loan Scheme have repaid their loans.
The development was disclosed on Monday in Abuja by the Bank’s Managing Director, Alwan Ali Hassan when he hosted the delegation of Agricultural Commodities Forum led by its Chairman, Bashir Ibrahim.
He expressed dissatisfaction at the attitude of the farmer associations towards the repayment of the loans given to them, adding that it was adversely affecting the Bank’s operations.
Also, Hassan said only one commodity association has repaid the loans since he assumed office in May 2020.
“The percentage is not encouraging, it’s low below 10 per cent, it came only from one association; the other two have not paid anything since I arrived here as managing director.
“We have been calling them, writing to them and talking to them, unfortunately, it has not come in but we hope that the associations will live up to their responsibility and pay the loans that they have taken, this will help the bank give money to the new set of farmers or associations,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ibrahim attributed the issue of default in loan repayment to recurring cases of insecurity, flooding, and COVID-19.
Furthermore, he explained that a good number of the farmers had to pay extra for security on their farmlands, owing to the rising insecurity across the country.
On the issue of flooding, Ibrahim said the natural disaster as well as the global COVID-19 pandemic, had affected farm yields, farmers’ profit margins, and their ability to repay the loans.
“From 2019 and as far back as 2018, there have been a lot of challenges in agriculture, there is a lot of insecurity in certain places farmers cannot even go to harvest their produce, other places, they have to pay before they can even harvest on their farms.
“We had a situation of massive flooding in about 19 states in 2018, farmers were given money and when they went and planted, natural disaster happened, the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC) has not been forthcoming to help the farmers and 2019 and 2020, we had the issue of COVID-19, about six months there were no agricultural activities, some people planted but couldn’t harvest,” he added.
However, Hassan noted that farmers’ inability to repay their loans will stall the Bank’s plans to re-issue loans to other smallholder farmers.
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