Prior to the disbursement of a N4 billion loan to farmers under the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) across some cotton-producing states, the Cotton Producers and Merchants Association (COPMA) has said it is setting out to recover the loan from the beneficiaries.
According to the National President of COPMA, Alhaji Lawal Matazu, the programme was part of the government’s policy to revamp the nation’s agricultural sector to enable farmers to get economic freedom.
Matazu was speaking during the inauguration of the recovery committee for the 2019 wet season Anchor Borrowers scheme, under the auspices of CBN-COPMA and NIRSAL-COPMA in Katsina,
In his words, “The programme is aimed at providing an opportunity for a common man, a peasant farmer especially, to have access to an agricultural loan at its doorsteps without any collateral or all those conventional protocols and at cheaper rate charges.”
He said the programme engaged 22,000 farmers across the country, and it covered 24,000 hectares of farms with an expected yield of 36,969 metric tonnes of cotton that will cost N4 billion.
“The minimum guaranteed price for the produce is agreed at N150 per Kg. The price is believed to be a reasonable one for the farmers to make a profit after repaying their loan. In the event that the market price of the produce is above the minimum agreed price, the produce will be collected at the rate of the market prevailing price.” He added.
The association’s president admonished the recovery committee to use all available and peaceful avenues to recover the loans for the sustainability of the programme as it was designed as a revolving loan.
On his part, National Secretary of the association, Alhaji Kamilu Sheikh Munnir, the programme was initiated by the federal government in 2016 for cotton farmers to easily access inputs, as it is designed as a simple loan.
He said, “COPMA came into the programme in 2017 and each farmer/beneficiary was allocated three hectares. All that was distributed to them were in the form of seeds, pesticides and other inputs and the repayment is expected to be with the cotton produced by the farmers, not in cash.”