The Federal Government has been called upon to prevail on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to dismantle the middlemen in its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme to farmers nationwide.
President of United Ufuoma Fish Farmers Association, John Ihesinaulo, who made the appeal in Ekpan, Uvwie Local Council of Delta State, noted that the agents were posing an impediment to government’s quest for productivity and food sufficiency, as the facility hardly gets to farmers intact.
He averred that, however good an agricultural policy or intentions of government, the implementation aspect determines the effect, alleging that the agents/middlemen who now demand huge sums of money before disbursement of the loan to the targeted audience, were frustrating the good disposition of the present administration.
His words: “The Federal Government has taken the right step by asking people to go into farming as it would help in the food sufficiency drive of the government. But it should take a step further to empower existing farmers. Paper policy will not take us anywhere. Going down to the grassroots to identify existing farmers for empowerment, to me, is the best thing that will yield the desired result.
“We are aware of the Central Bank of Nigeria Anchor Borrowers’ Programme but we are being frustrated out of the scheme by middlemen who demand for huge sums of money all in the name of trying to help us secure the loan. Of what essence is the loan if it is out of reach of those it is meant to serve. Contractors are asking for too much from us. You cannot give an individual money and ask the group to pay collectively.
“Having said that, I want to use this medium to call on the Federal Government to prevail on the Central Bank of Nigeria to jettison the idea of middlemen as they are doing more harm than good. Government is empowering contractors not farmers. Contractors are asking for too much. I must tell you that the programme is not feasible. It will be more favourable to government if they pass through the cooperatives and deal directly with them.”