By Mustapha Yauri
The National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria have developed a national farmers’ database.
Prof. Emmanuel Ikani, Executive Director of NAERLS, disclosed this during the 2021 National Agricultural Extension Review and Planning Meeting in Zaria on Wednesday.
Ikani said it was to strengthen coordination and boost food security in Nigeria.
He said the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme recorded less than five per cent of total money disbursed to the farmers under the scheme.
“If the loan under the scheme was given to genuine farmers, they would use the fund and return the money at the end of the season.
“All these issues, the central bank and commercial banks were saying that farmers do not return loans were not true,’’ Ikani alleged.
He disclosed that ABU had experimented on the scheme at its adopted villages, where it had farmers in clusters.
“The university links the farmers to the bank which gives them loans,” Ikani said.
“If we want to be truthful to ourselves, the truth of the matter was that the CBN was not dealing with genuine farmers but political cronies.
“What we intend to do going forward is to profile genuine farmers from each state, his village and local government area, and his size of the farm.
“We will also profile what the farmer produces, and GPS coordinates among others,’’ he said.
According to Ikani, this is aimed at providing better guidance to the government and other key stakeholders in the sector who may want to provide loan facilities.
He added that they may want to provide other interventions as well, to real and genuine farmers.
Ikani said the data bank would provide adequate means to track farmers and once a farmer knew he would be traced, he would pay the loan facilities given to him.
He said the process had already commenced; while NAERLS had obtained a license from the CBN to register and link the National Identity Numbers and Bank Verification Number of farmers.
Ikani said NAERLS had signed a memorandum of understanding with Access Bank and UBA, targeting 400,000 farmers in December, adding that the number might increase in the subsequent months.
He said that he participated in the Agricultural Transformation Agenda in 2012, where a company was commissioned.
Ikani said the company generated data of about 40 million farmers and the data was not with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
He announced that NAERLS as a research institute based in a university would be the custodian of the data to be generated from the exercise. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)