By Paul Olayemi, Sapele
Farmers under a registered Co-operative Society, Good Choice Farmers in Degele-Elume in Sapele Local Government of Delta State has appealed to the Federal Government to direct the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and relevant stakeholders to intervene so that they can commence the rice wet season farming. adding that the refusal of CBN to release funds is making a mockery of the good intentions of the Buhari’s administration in the agricultural sector.
In a petition addressed to the nation’s President, the group also narrated their ordeals at the Central Bank Nigeria(CBN)/Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing system for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL)office in Asaba after forwarding their expression of interest.
The letter titled ‘Our ordeal in the hands of CBN/NIRSAL since 2019:Appeal for urgent intervention’ signed by Mr Sunday Agbude, President of NIRSAL GEO COOP, Delta, Sapele, Deghele MPCS and Secretary of the group, Pastor Mark Olom Abene said they got approval from the Delta State government and paid for one hundred and seventy (170) hectares of land in the Delta State communal farm in Deghele, Sapele in April 2019, for rice production.
They said, after spending cash on engaging licenced surveyor, registering a new co-operative, resubmitting all documents and CBN/NIRSAL officials coming to the communal farm in Deghele, Sapele for membership verification exercise, and even paying one hundred and fifty (150,000)naira into the Delta State farm lease, which are part of the conditions for the program to kick off, they are yet to get feedback.
Part of the petition read: In January 2021 CBN/NIRSAL directed that we should resubmit all documents for the 2021 rice wet season project and we complied.
On the 15th of March, 2021, Mr Chukwudi, the head of NIRSAL, Delta State, informed us that CBN had not opened the window for the rice wet season project for 2021 which means that there was no assurance that the anchor borrowers programme (ABP) that had been on in other states of the federation may never take place in Delta State.
Nigerians and indeed Deltans welcome and love the Anchor Borrowers Programme and are keying into it in line with President Buhari’s Agricultural revolution initiative to rescue millions of Nigeriañs particularly the unemployed out of poverty. the challenge confronting us is that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has refused to effect the timely release of funds for the smooth take-off of the programme in Delta State, thereby making a mockery of the good intentions of the Buhari’s administration in the agricultural sector.