An organisation, Forum for Agricultural Commodities Association Presidents, has urged President Bola Tinubu to revive the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), saying many gains of the initiative are dying.
Lamenting that the apex bank had stopped supporting farmers under the scheme since 2020, the organisation urged the President to ensure revival.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, yesterday, chairman of the forum, Alhaji Sadiq Deware, said resuscitating the ABP and others, like the Flood Emergency Intervention Programme (FEIP), would tackle many challenges facing the agricultural sector.
He urged 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, adding: “This should be treated as top priority and acted upon expeditiously.”
He said: “Your Excellency, it would interest you to know that despite the many gains of the programme, it is now moribund, as no smallholder or medium-scale farmer has accessed the fund since 2020.
“This is a very sad commentary, as the progress made in production of food commodities for food security and import substitution are being reversed rapidly. Deliberate effort must be made to stop this ugly trend and put agriculture on the right trajectory for economic growth. We are equally convinced that you would use your good offices to ensure the needful is done.”
According to Deware, despite fact that the immediate past government set up the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative, to facilitate seamless access to quality fertiliser at an affordable price by farmers, it has not served farmers in the past two years.
Deware said this is yet another anomaly the President should correct.
Speaking on removal of subsidy on petroleum products, Deware drew attention of the President to what he described as “age long lopsided treatment of issues that have to do with the welfare and wellbeing of our teeming farmers.”
He said: “Whereas 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.
“By population, farmers outnumber members of the organised labour or any other union by a long shot and are a significant majority.”