The Maize Association of Nigeria (MAN) has commenced nationwide strategic meeting with maize farmers and stakeholders on the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Anchor Borrowers’ loan recovery.
This is contained in a statement by Mr Bello Abubakar, the National President, MAN on Thursday in Abuja.
Abubakar said that the meeting would include those from South-South and South-East geo-political zones of the country.
According to him, the meeting will hold in Port Harcourt, with the objective of reviewing the impact of the loan on food security.
“We will also deliberate on loan repayment strategies and the way forward for maize farmers,” Abubakar said.
He said that the association would ensure that all necessary actions and measures would be taken to compel the farmers who took the loans to pay back.
Abubakar said that to this effect, the association decided to go round the 36 states of the federation starting with the South-South and South-East to come together and meet with stakeholders.
“The meeting will discuss, deliberate and come up with concrete solution to the problem and ensure that farmers pay up their loans.
“We know there are some challenges but loan is a loan, loan is not a grant, loan is not subsidy, therefore we must follow these farmers to make sure they pay back the loan,” he said.
Abubakar said that the loan had encouraged farmers to produce more and encouraged more people to go into farming thereby enhancing food production.
He said that the purchase and disbursement of hybrid seeds and other inputs and extension services made available to maize farmers through the loan had boosted yields per hectare to five metric tons.
Abubakar said that the programme had helped farmers to get quality inputs; right from seed, fertilizer, herbicides and other needed services which made the farmers increase their production.
The South-south zonal chapter of Maize Association of Nigeria (MAN) says that lack of maintenance has rendered inactive, the few existing state government owned grain silos in Rivers.
Zonal Coordinator of MAN, Mr Amadi Godwin, speaking in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday called for improved synergy between the state and Federal Government on food security.
Godwin said that there are few silos at Rumuodomanya, Oboi/Akpor local government area developed by the Rivers state government and used for storage of livestock feeds.
He however, lamented that currently, the silos have remained without grains and are abandoned due to lack of maintainance.
Godwin said there is another state owned silo located at Elele, Ikwerre LGA saying that political gladiators and the Ministry of Agriculture have always stuck to official bureaucracy.
“This has not in any way encouraged effective utilization of the facility.
“MAN had written several letters calling for reactivation of these state owned silos but till date nothing has been done.
“There’s is no Federal Government owned silo here in Rivers, but we have been benefitting from the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrowers Program.
“During the COVID-19 lockdown, our association took delivery of appreciable tonnes of agro inputs ranging from improved seeds to other agro based chemicals,” he explained.
Godwin said though the state has fair weather and soil for some species of rice, the Federal Government should focus more on developing farmers in specific cash crops that strive naturally well in their respective states.
“A major problem in Nigeria, is that the government has refused to support each of the states specifically in their areas of major interests and profitability.
“For instance, Rivers and Delta states are hubs for cassava, maize, yam, plantain, banana, and cucumber; as such, farmers should be given adequate incentives for better productivity on these specific crops,” he appealed.
Meanwhile, Rivers State Ministry of Agriculture has lamented alleged poor response to agriculture development and incentives by the Federal Government for grain farmers in the state.
Mrs Caroline Wali, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry expressed worry over non-inclusion of the state in the various Federal Government’s strategy for food security.
According to Wali, in a bid to promote food security, the Federal Government has, apart from incentives to farmers, constructed 30 silos in the country, and handed same to concessionaires who are expected to serve as offtakers to grain farmers.
She said that the move should have been extended to Rivers whose grain farmers have shown willingness to enter into full production but are faced with the challenges of lack of rice mills and silos.
Edited By: Razak Owolabi
Mr Ibrahim Kabiru, the National President, All Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (AFAN) on Thursday lamented that over 95 per cent of its members in Kaduna State are not registered as bonafide members.
He made the disclosure during the failed election of the Kaduna State chapter of the association slated for Thursday at the National Livestock Institute, Mando, Kaduna.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the election was postponed due to inability of some members to fulfill certain criteria for election as guided by the association’s constitution.
Kabiru represented by the Assistant National Public Relations Officer of the association, Salisu Muktar, said the postponement of the election was in line with the association’s constitutional provisions.
He said the election was postponed due to the fact that: “Most of the members have not registered with the association to become bonafide members.
“For anybody to become a bonafide member, he or she needs to pay N1,000 through the state chairman, who will then compile the list of those who paid and send same to AFAN headquarters, Abuja.
“The AFAN national headquarters will process and provide them with identity cards, this will qualify them to become bonafide members,” he said.
He said the present AFAN chairman in the state would remain the interim chairman while they await further instruction from Abuja, adding that only the National Executive Committee (NEC) had the powers to dissolve the state exco.
“Going by the provision of our constitution, the electoral body has no powers whatsoever to dissolve the state executive, this is the sole responsibility of NEC after such case is deliberated in the meeting.
“Therefore, Nuhu Aminu remained the AFAN Chairman in Kaduna State until NEC meets, the NEC will meet and decide on the issue later,” he assured.
Speaking on behalf of Electoral Committee, Abdur-Rashid Magaji-Rimingado said they were in Kaduna to conduct election, saying that the election was guided by the provision of the association’s constitution.
He said guidelines for state elections provided that AFAN would produce five delegates from each local government, while other farmers’ associations would produce two delegates per local government and outgoing state executive members were also eligible to vote.
According to him, these are the category of people eligible to vote after they are screened by the committee to ensure that each one of them is a bonafide member of AFAN.
He said since most of the members did not meet the requirement, the electoral body had no option than to postpone the election and dissolve the state executive.
Responding, the AFAN Chairman in Kaduna State and one of the contestants, however, argued that the electoral committee had no constitutional powers to dissolve the state exco.
“The function of the electoral body is just to conduct election and in the event that the election could not hold, their duty is just to write a report to the national headquarters.
“It is only the national headquarters that has the constitutional powers to dissolve the state executive.
“In view of this, I am appealing to all our members to remain calm while we await further decision of the national body. All we need is justice for all, nothing else.
“I want each of us to bear in mind that power only comes from God Almighty and God has already decided who will be the next chairman, let us learn to accept the will of God in good faith,” Aminu advised.
On his part, the other contestant, Alhaji Mohammed Kabir-Salihu said the electoral body came with a very good strategy to ensure free and fair election.
Kabir-Salihu, who is also the Chairman, Maize Association of Nigeria (MAN) said he was in support of the dissolution of the state executive, saying that it would bring sanity in running the affairs of the association.
He commended the electoral body for taking what he described as a bold decision, assuring that he and his supporters were ready to support the in-coming caretaker committee to be inaugurated later.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the two contestants have been trading blame on each other as regards the postponement of the election.
Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye