By Matthew Denis
Kwara agricultural unions in the state have called on the Central Bank of Nigeria to extend the Anchored Borrowers Scheme loans to cover farmland clearing which constitutes about 50 per cent of farm expensive.
Speaking to Pilot Business, the state Chairman of Agric and Allied Employees Union of Nigeria (AAEUN), David Kayode Ehindero lauded the initiative of CBN, noting that most farmers are benefitting from the scheme.
“This is one of the major initiatives put in place by the Federal Government that has direct impacts on the farmers in the country,” he further noted.
Ehindero however expressed dissatisfaction that the loan package doesn’t cover the preparatory stage of farming activities such as land clearing, which constitute about 50 per cent of the process.
He said, “the Development Funds Office of the CBN is doing well, but the timeliness of the fund release is very important because agriculture is about season.
“We also discovered that the anchor borrowers’ fund doesn’t cover the clearing of land. It only captures land cultivation. We want the DFO to consider farmland clearing which covers 50 per cent of farming expenses.”
On his part, the Kwara State Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Alhaji Tajudeen Ajibola commended the CBN programme in the state.
The chairman who spoke through the association Secretary, Alh. Mukaila Salaudeen said, “About 800 farmers cooperative societies are undergoing documentation for the programme.
“We are sure that the loans will be released to our members soon, but we don’t know the exact number of beneficiaries for now,” he added.
Also speaking, the state Chairman of Kwara Youths Integrated Farmers, Mr. Mumini Onimago lauded the CBN for the programme but called for supply of more machineries to enhance farm productivity.
He appealed to government at all levels to lend support in the area of storage facilities, for the success of the off takers scheme.