The National President of Nigeria Agro Input Dealers Association (NAIDA), Kabiru Fara has faulted the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the disbursement of over N850 billion on Anchor Borrowers Program (ABP), yet rice is still expensive and not available in the market.
Fara argued that the money spent so far by CBN on rice production if used to import rice, there would be enough rice in every household, yet rice remains unavailable and expensive.
During a chat recently with journalists, the NAIDA National President said the planned reintroduction of the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) Scheme would force the reduction of food prices in the market and also ensure the availability of food in the market.
Recall that recently, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar hinted at the planned reintroduction of GES with the support of the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The GES was introduced by the former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina. The Scheme allows the government to subsidise agro-inputs by 50 percent while the state governments and farmers share the burden of the remaining 50 per cent.
“We are excited, that is good for the Nigerian farmers and also for the business people that are within the cycle of the agricultural sector. It means the economy will improve and money will exchange hands, that is the bottom line, we the agro-dealers are business people, we know we suffered in the past, I hope the challenges in the past would be addressed because we now have our eyes open, all the terms and conditions must apply.
“It is a welcome development, that means we are getting focused in agriculture, we will now move away from the ABP which has produced no result in the country, most of the milling plants don’t have paddy to mill and billions of Naira has been spent but no effect, but with N10 billion on GES, there will be impact in the whole country, but N850 billion has been spent on ABP, where is the result, where are the rice, how much are we buying local rice?”, Fara said.
He said farmers would be happier because farm inputs prices are going higher, but with the GES, the farmers can get inputs at an affordable price that means Nigerian consumers will get things at affordable prices all things being equal.
He argued that the central bank ABP centres majorly on rice producers, the GES centres around all value chains, it will have more impact than the ABP.
“If you use the amount of money spent on ABP to import rice into this country, there will rice in every household for free, but we can’t see the rice, we don’t know what happened, they need to explain to Nigerians who they gave N850 billion to produce rice, the paddy is nowhere to be found”, he noted.
He said the Agro-dealers are excited and hope that soon the Minister will call stakeholders meetings as he promised so that the dry season farming will be a successful one.
He said bringing back GES means a lot, because commercial banks have to come, producers, suppliers, agro-dealers, farmers’ associations have to come in so that they can agree on modalities of distributing the farm inputs.
“We are happy the minister is consulting with the African Development Bank and very soon, we the Agro-dealers will meet with the Minister and encourage him to do more with the AfDB so that they can assist Nigeria to come out of coma so that this food prices will go down”, he added.
Fara said in this new GES, they will ensure that quality inputs are delivered at various centres with the farmers’ preference in consideration.