Nigeria news : COVID 19 delaying Anchor Borrowers Programme in Nigeria – VON DG, Okechukwu, Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, on Sunday blamed the COVID 19 pandemic for the delay of the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), a key component of President Muhammadu Buhari’s agrarian revolution.
Okechukwu said this while addressing farmers who besieged him in his home town, Eke, Enugu State, during the weekend over the nonarrival of farm inputs, seedlings and tractors from the federal government.
He assured the farmers that President Muhammadu Buhari and the Governors were doing their best to contain the deadly COVID 19 pandemic and appealed for patience and understanding from them.
Okechukwu reiterated that the Anchor Borrowers Programme which was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 17, 2015, had no direct interest rate attached to smallholders’ farmers.
“My brethren the delay in the arrival of farm inputs and seedlings of the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) is the unfortunate Coronavirus pandemic. President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and other governors are doing their best to contain the COVID 19 pandemic. It will soon vanish like past influenzas,” Okechukwu said.
Prodded further as the farming season has commenced, Okechukwu said: “As I told you before the Anchor Borrowers Programme is very dear to Mr. President’s heart.
“He wants the program to permeate all the nooks and crannies of our dear country. He wants to lift subsistence farmers to commercial farmers, especially women and youths,” he said.
Asked of specific dates, Okechukwu said he has no specific date, stressing that the battle at hand was to save lives from the ravaging pandemic.
“All I know is the Central Bank team has collated the register of farmers and had nominated banks, waiting for the pandemic cloud to clear,” he said.
On the issue of collateral, which deprived them of previous agricultural assistance programs, Okechukwu reassured the farmers that Anchor Borrowers Programme has no provision for collateral.
He told the farmers that they are the collateral, agent, means and end in the Anchor Borrowers.
“It is a program incarnate of President Buhari as a man of the people. He wants to use the program to lift millions of masses out of poverty, in a way to compensate masses who voted for him without selling their votes. That is the main content of the Buhari agrarian revolution,” he said.
Okechukwu finally appealed to Mr. President to remember subsistence farmers in the palliatives as the pandemic has stopped them from farming.