Nigeria: Farmers In Gombe Allege Sharp Practices On FG Agriculture Loan

By Auwal Mohammed

Gombe (Nigeria) — Farmers in Gombe State, northeast Nigeria have alleged sharp practices over distribution of Federal Government loan assistance to them, under the Anchor Borrowers’ project by the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and the state Ministry of Agriculture.

Secretary of All Lower Farmers Association (ALFA), Sani Idris, who made the allegation while addressing Journalists in Gombe, said, both the bank and ministry have brought in stringent conditions that are contrary to what the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) told them.

“The bank (BOA) said they will give us farm inputs of N110, 640.00 and N75, 000.00cash at the bank; even the inputs, they made their own business because fertiliser is N5, 500.00 in the market and they force us to take it for N8, 000:00 each bag.

“Rice bag is 10,000.00 per 50kg bag, and thy force us to take it for N2, 000,000.00; insecticide in the market is N1, 500.00 in the market, they force us to take it as N2, 500.00 and empty bag in the market is N80.00, but they also force us to take it as N150.00. We don’t know the reason of the deduction of N3, 640.00,” alleged the farmers.

The farmers appealed to the Federal government and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to intervene by helping them to either recoup all that they have been allegedly swindled of in the name of pursuing the loans, or help them secure the facility as intended by the Federal Government.

ALFA said their trouble started with Gombe state Ministry of Agriculture, which demanded a N10, 000.00 registration fee from every Farmers’ Cooperative group; under ALFA, N20, 000.00 for consultancy, and then another N20,000.00 collected by the surveyor officer.

ALFA further alleged that BOA started by demanding N3, 000.00 for the opening of individual accounts with them and then, N300.00 each for the loan disbursement form.

They said the Bank of Agriculture went on to demand an unexplained down payment of 5% of the expected N250,000.00 loan, amounting to N12,500.00, which only over 3,000 of them were able to pay.

Idris said, each member of ALFA, after all the deductions would be receiving N185, 640.00 as against the N300,000.00 or N250,000.00 they were expecting.

The ALFA Secretary further alleged that the charges totalling N71, 500.00 included charges for land clearing, ploughing and harrowing, fertilizers application harvesting and transportation of rice paddy.

Contacted for reaction, the Bank of Agriculture Manager, Adamu Idris said only the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Dahiru Buba Biri who heads the committee could comment.

The Commissioner in turn said the loan which has lingered for nine months now, could not amount to the proposed N300, 000.00, because it was initially meant for dry season farming; hence it came down to about N250, 000.00, adding that the portion proposed for water pumps was subtracted.

He said it is inputs cum cash loan, but that the cash aspect does not include the services for which BOA was charging a total of N71, 500.00.

Buba Biri further confirmed that the credit facility which would be paid through exchange of farm produce after harvest was obtainable at 9% interest rate.

According to him, the Bank of Agriculture got the loan from CBN on 2% interest rate.

Posted by on 04/08/2017. Filed under Agriculture, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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