Alhaji Abbas Ramallan, Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Nasarawa State Chapter, has urged its members to repay the farm inputs loan they received under the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.
Ramallah made the call at the Wet Season Loan Recovery meeting with local government and zonal chairmen of RIFAN held in Keffi, the state capital.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers’ Programme was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 17, 2015.
It is intended to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in the processing and small holder farmers of the required key agricultural commodities.
Ramallan noted that the programme started in the state in 2018 and no fewer than 20,000 farmers had benefited so far.
Disturbed by the non-payment of the loan facility which was in the form of farm inputs, the chairman said that the items given to farmers in the state was on loan basis and not for free.
He said that the loan to be repaid was converted to bags of paddy which was based on the number of hectares of land cultivated:
“It is not charity; it is a revolving loan. We should do things that our children will benefit from in years to come.
“Any loan given must be paid. Individuals signed indemnity with RIFAN, as well as for others and accessed the loan. So, it must be paid to the last kobo. I will make sure they pay.
“The year 2020 is a year of hard work. And we must achieve our aim in the year.
“A situation where you indemnify someone that is not capable of repaying you should know you are liable and you will face the wrath of the law.’’
While stating that the state was expected to provide 50,000 bags of paddy for the loan recovery, Ramallan gave the farmers a time frame of January 30 to pay up at least 80 percent of the loan.
He, however, commended President Buhari for the effort at diversifying the economy through agriculture with the collateral-free loan for farmers in the country at large.
National Deputy Secretary of RIFAN, Alhaji Iliyasu Awodi, said that there were bags of paddy to be collected and those already collected was a far cry from what was envisaged.
“The last time we were at CBN, we learnt that there will be no anchor borrower if the association fails to pay 75 percent of the loans collected.
“If the programme is truncated, there would be a big problem for Nigerians because rice is one of the major staple foods in the country.”
He therefore urged the farmers to ensure prompt payment of the loan collected for government’s effort not to be in vain.
Also speaking, Alhaji Samaila Rukuba, RIFAN Consultant on Debt Recovery said that the association was an emerging platform that would ensure food security in the country.
“In spite of the border closure, we spent Christmas and New Year with enough rice. All sabotaging efforts failed,’’ he said.