Rescuing CBN’s ABP from collapse: An open letter to President Buhari
As stakeholders in the agricultural sector, we feel mandated to draw the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari to the development in the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
It is our candid opinion that if left unchecked, the programme will gradually, but certainly cause a serious setback to the achievements recorded by the present administration towards making the small scale farmers become self-reliant and providing food security for our dear nation.
This is even more urgent with the unprecedented dwindling oil price world over occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
We feel this nation called Nigeria needs to, more than ever before, chart a good path in order to cover for the lost revenue from the oil sector so as to meet its financial obligations.
Agriculture, if done with sincerity of purpose can sustain the nation as it is sustaining a lot of other countries.
The ABP is a laudable programme of the present administration, which was conceived with the aim of assisting small-scale farmers effectively and efficiently to pursue their livelihood, since they are mostly poor and unable to access technological innovations for improved yield and productivity.
It is also aimed at promoting and developing agriculture while complimenting the value chain.
Under the programme, involvement of farmers’ associations is very important especially in areas of sending the lists of their members to the CBN for validation and approval, participating in town hall meetings wherein such associations, together with input suppliers, off-takers, participating financial institutions and the CBN meet to agree on the types and quality of inputs to be supplied to the farmers and determine the Economics of Production (EOP) of each crop and then use same to forecast the selling price.
In this way, CBN arrives at the value of cash-backing per commodity while farmers’ associations ensure that farmers are not shortchanged or given substandard/inferior inputs.
Input suppliers also play an important role in the programme implementation process because they ab initio submit their letters of interest to the Project Management Team (PMT) ahead of time, disclosing the kinds, brands, quantities and prices of the inputs they would supply.
Before a season take-off, all these details relating to the input suppliers would have been accepted by the farmers who are the final beneficiaries.
Lastly, the input suppliers’ attendance of the town hall meetings facilitates a proper mutual understanding between them (input suppliers on the one part) and all the other stakeholders, especially the farmers’ associations on the other part, so that the inputs are delivered in accordance with hitherto agreed terms and conditions.
It is with great dismay to note that we as the farmers’ associations, who are, by Article 3.8 of the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme Guidelines, members of the PMT were neither informed, consulted nor involved in any plan or decision to change the inputs suppliers’ selection process.
This is contrary to the spirit of Article 3.5 of the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme Guidelines and will pave the possibility of having substandard inputs at noncompetitive prices and also creating room for insider related dealings.
You may note that this alien and faulty selection process will lead to the delivery of wrong or poor quality inputs to farmers and their yields will certainly be negatively affected which would impair their ability to repay the loans at the end of the day.
The farmers’ associations, being major stakeholders in the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, are vehemently opposed to any arbitrary selection, appointment or choice of input suppliers.
It is the prerogative of the farmers to decide the type of inputs they need for their use as practical users and beneficiaries and also as the loan re-payers under the facilitation of their respective associations.
We urge Mr. President to use his good office in calling CBN to order so as to ensure that the ABP does not become a total failure and will affect the good image of our financial institution both locally and internationally. This institution is supposed to be with zero corruption.
While we are assuring our members of our efforts to ensure that their interests are well protected by us through the ABP, we shall not hesitate to take up legal action against the CBN if this anomaly and arbitrariness is not addressed in earnest.
We hope our grievances will be addressed and assure Mr. President of our continuous support towards the achievement of his well meaning goals for making the country the food basket of Africa.
We want to conclude with this slogan: Great Farmer, Great Nation! No Farmer, No Nation!
Source: Nigerian Agricultural Commodity Associations.