The Niger State chapter of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria says that some members have been taken to court for failure to submit paddy rice from their last season’s harvest as payment for the Central Bank of Nigeria special intervention loan.
Some of the rice farmers benefited from the CBN special intervention project for rice farming and were expected to submit bags of paddy rice from their harvests as loan repayment.
However, some of the farmers, according to the state coordinator of the project, Idris Makaranta, have refused to redeem their return as agreed.
Makaranta disclosed this during the official inauguration of Centre Coordinators of the State RIFAN/CBN Special Project in Bida.
“From the 40,000 farmers who participated in last season’s rice farming, we were supposed to recover between 300,000 to 400,000 bags of paddy rice; but as I speak to you, we have only recovered about 100,000 bags.
“We have handed the defaulters to court to recover our returns for us while anyone who has brought more than 60 percent of the returns would be considered for the dry season farming,” he said.
The coordinator, who decried alleged character assassination, blackmail and threat against his person, said he had only hung on in order to help genuine farmers.
For the dry season farming, he said RIFAN was targeting 300,000 hectares of rice farming and regretted the association’s inability to meet up with the 150,000 hectares for the last season.
Centre coordinators of the State RIFAN/CBN Special Project were inaugurated for 12 local governments out of the 25 councils in the state to decentralise responsibilities for effective and proper monitoring.
The councils are Bida, Lapai, Minna, Gbako, Lavun, Edati, Mokwa, Kacha, Agaie, Kotangora, New Bussa and Wushishi while some of the security affected councils in the state are merged with other councils for proper monitoring.
The CBN representative at the event, Hassana Muhammed, informed the coordinators and farmers that there were some loans that were interest-free, while others are with low interest, but none is a grant.
“You are all aware that some people have been remanded over their refusal to bring returns after harvesting.
“I am putting it to you now that there is nothing like your own share of the national cake from the intervention.
“Security agents are among you, so know that recovery of your returns is 100 percent,” Muhammed said.
The distribution of inputs for rice farmers is expected to start soon for the dry season farming and the centre coordinators are expected to get the data of all genuine farmers that will benefit from the intervention.