The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), in Kebbi, says it has recorded bumper harvest of 3.5 million metric tones of rice in the rainy season in the state.
The Chairman of the association in the state,Alhaji Muhammad Augie, made the disclosure in an interactive session with newsmen in Birnin Kebbi on Wednesday.“Our farmers recorded bumper harvest of 1.5 million metric tones after President Muhammadu Buhari launched the Anchored Borrower programme in Nov. 17, 2015.“
Prior to the programme, we did have 700,000 metric tons, but the first year of the programme, we got 1.5 million metric tons and since then, the output keeps on increasing.“Our last harvest now was 3.5 millions metric tons which is above 150 percentage.“Owing to the success we had recorded in 2016, the nearby countries of Mali, Cameroon, Niger and Benin republics came to Kebbi state in 2016 and thereafter, to buy our paddy rice?,” he said.
“The rice mills in the state are still sourcing their paddy rice in the state from our farmers?“I can’t just imagine how the anchor borrowers could be diverted by anybody, considering the processes, criteria farmers must met before they were given the money by Bank of Agriculture (BOA).“We have all the prove, documents that these money went to the genuine farmers in the state “, Augie said
.The chairman also explained that, the only challenged the association faced was the challenge of recovering of the loan.According to him, out of 70,000 farmers that benefitted, about 200 have fully paid up. An official of the Anchor Borrower in the state, Abubakar Udulu , said that farmers received N12.8 billion as disbursed by the Bank of Agriculture as loan to the rice farmers in the state. “Each of the beneficiary was directed to open an account with the Bank through which the farmer would receive the package of the loan. ” The package covered both in kind and cash,” he said.Udulu said that not all farmers collected the full amount of the loan because the cash was not disbursed at once but installmentally based on the stages of production.Earlier, the Branch Head of the Bank of Agriculture in the state, Alhaji Aliyu Zurmi, buttressed the explanation of anchored borrower members that the money was disbursed to the farmers through the bank.He maintained that the state government had nothing to do with the disbursement of the loan which the BOA disbursed to registered farmers across the 21 local government areas in the state.“We disbursed the loan ourselves, the state government has no hand in it; it just served as guarantor for the famers,” Zurmin said. (NAN).