By Onome Amuge
The Forum for Agricultural Commodities Association of Nigeria (FACAN) has noted that no smallholder or medium scale farmer has gained access to funds from the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) since 2020.
Sadiq Daware, chairman of the forum, stated this recently at a press conference in Abuja, where he urged President Bola Tinubu to revamp the programme as many of its gains are becoming moribund.
Daware argued that reviving the ABP and other intervention programmes like the Flood Emergency Intervention Programme (FEIP),would go a long way in tackling the myriad of challenges facing the agricultural sector.
Daware also advised the president to direct the CBN or Ministry of Finance to urgently provide funds to farmers for the 2023-2024 wet and dry season farming, stressing that it should be treated as a top priority and acted upon expeditely.
In his words, “Your excellency, it would interest you to know that despite the many gains of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the programme is now near moribund as no smallholder or medium scale farmer has accessed the fund since 2020.
The FACAN chairman, therefore noted that deliberate effort must be made to halt the ugly trend in order to put agriculture on the right trajectory for economic growth.
He expressed hope that the new administration would help revive the agricultural sector, noting that the association is equally convinced that the president would use his office to ensure that the needful is done on the matter.
Speaking on the removal of subsidy on petroleum products, Deware drew the attention of the president to what he described as “agelong lopsided treatment of issues that have to do with the welfare and wellbeing of our teeming farmers.”
He said the association has noted with dismay that organised labour is given too much attention during discussions for palliatives that could cushion the impact of some government policies but agricultural producers who are practitioners in the largest production sector in Nigeria are being ignored.
“Whereas the organised labour is looking out for its interest as consumers, our farmers, whose production would be impacted negatively by the policies are never invited to the table of negotiations or targeted for palliatives. It is a given that by population, farmers outnumber the members of the organised labour or any other union by a long shot and are a significant majority,” he noted.
He, therefore, requested that the lop-sided be addressed and the cries of the farmers heard at such a time like this and given the recognition they rightly deserve on matters of national importance.