CBN decries activities of portfolio farmers in Anchor Borrowers’ Programme

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) this morning (7th June, 2017) decried the working of those it called portfolio farmers, whose nefarious activities is creating problems in reaching out to real farmers for the actualization of the apex bank’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) in Delta state.
Making this known when members of the Indigenous Newspapers and magazine Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Asaba chapter paid a courtesy visit to the Asaba branch of the CBN, the Branch Controller of the bank, Dame Elizabeth Agu said the unscrupulous activities of the portfolio farmers, who are not real farmers was creating a huge problem by hindering genuine and real farmers from accessing the benefits of the programme.
Noting that the ABP benefits are for those engaged in actual farming, she lamented that unfortunately the portfolio farmers come in and pretend to be farmers with a view to accessing the loan facilities meant to assist genuine farmers.
The situation, she declared, was giving the CBN concern because it was discovered that most of the applications to access the ABP benefits were made by portfolio farmers whose Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) were traced to most of the applications.
Besides, the Branch Controller also raised concern about the problem of loan beneficiaries defaulting in their loan repayment obligations.
She said: “Since this programme started, we have problems with some Deltans in the area of BVN. We have problem with portfolio farmers. N2 billion given to farmers as revolving loan are not being paid back. Feeds given to farmers as farm inputs were sold off by the farmers. We need to interface with the real farmers. We seek to deal with real farmers not portfolio farmers.”
The Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, Dame Agu said is aimed at boosting food security which is dear to the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele and called on the grassroots media organizations and Reporters to help reach out to the real farmers to come out and take advantage of the programme to enhance their farm output.
Likening the job of the journalists who to that of the community town criers, she said: “You are the community media, and you are here with us. And for the success of the ABP we are pleased to ask you to be our link to the real farmers as our ambassadors. The portfolio farmers want cash not farm inputs, but the real farmers want farm inputs.”
Earlier in his address, Chairman of INMC, Comrade Barth Ozah commended the initiative behind the ABP that was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 17, 2015. “Statistics showed that Delta State has registered no fewer than 30,000 farmers across the selected enterprises of cassava, oil palm, rice and fisheries for thr CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme,” he said, even as he implored the CBN to ensure that co-operative societies who have registered for the programme are given opportunity to benefit .
“As I speak, so many co-operatives especially in the Ughelli axis of the state are still lamenting over their inability to access the facilities having registered for the ABP,” Comrade Ozah pointed out.

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