Association seeks removal of middlemen from Anchor Borrowers Programme
Mr John Ihesinaulo, President, United Ufuoma Fish Farmers Association, has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to remove middlemen from its Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP).
Ihesinaulo, whose association was based in Ekpan, Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta, told journalists in Warri on Wednesday that the middlemen’s activities had caused untold problems for the farmers.
He said that the activities of middlemen or agents in ABP were a disservice to farmers, alleging that they often demanded huge sums of money from farmers before allowing them to access the loan.
Ihesinaulo stressed that the agricultural programme might not be able to achieve its set objectives if middlemen and agents were not eliminated from the programme.
“We are aware of the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme but we are being frustrated from participating in it by the middlemen.
“They demand huge sums of money in the guise of helping us to secure the loan.
“Of what essence is the loan if it is out of the reach of those it is meant for?
“I want to call on the Federal Government to prevail on CBN to jettison the idea of engaging middlemen for the programme because they are doing more harm than good.
“I must tell you that at the moment, the programme is not feasible. It would be more favourable to us if the government could pass through the existing farmers’ cooperatives and deal directly with farmers,’’ he said.
Ihesinaulo, however, commended the Federal Government for its plans to revamp the agricultural sector but urged it to only empower genuine farmers.
“Paper policy will not take us anywhere, government should go down to the grassroots to identify the real farmers for empowerment; I think that is the best thing to do,’’ he said.
Ihesinaulo also called on state governments to complement the efforts of the Federal Government to assist farmers with the necessary incentives so as to boost their productivity.