from Sule Aliyu, Bauchi
Three special courts, one in each Senatorial District of Bauchi State, are to be set up by the state Chief Judge to try offenders of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Dry Season Farming Programme, chairman of the state Wheat Farmers Association, Alhaji Muhammad Juli Adamu has revealed.
Alhaji Adamu said that the setting up of the courts followed a consultation recently by the association with the state Chief Judge, Justice Rabi Talatu Umar as a result of the negative tendencies of some wheat farmers who resort to institute legal action against the association not to compel them to repay the loans they acquired for wheat dry season farming in the state.
He told the press in Bauchi recently that already a number of five farmers have approached an Upper Area Court in the state in their surreptitious moves to default the loans repayment through litigation of court adjournment, which subsequently may absolve them from the loans.
Alhaji Adamu explained that the loanable amounts to the wheat farmers does not belong to the association, but are rather public money being processed through the CBN running into billions of Naira under the Federal Government’s agricultural programme of ensuring food security for the nation.
It is envisioned that the proposed special courts to be established in the zones would speedily dispense justice for quick recovery of loans from farmers preparatory to any cropping season since the programme has come to stay, with the CBN planning to triple the loans disbursement in the next cropping season, as registration of farmers commences shortly.
The association chairman wondered how one of the loans defaulting farmers in the state who substantively benefitted from the programme in the last dry season farming got 59 hectares of land, and supported with inputs and implements worth N8 million only to turn back after the harvest with the presentation of only eight bags of wheat as repayment.
Alhaji Adamu recalled that preparatory to the commencement of the dry season farming last December, the association shared 7, 310 hectares of land to over 600 wheat farmers across the state with individual farmers getting hectares of land ranging from 20, 30 or so only to turn deep ears at repayment time.
He further told the press that the last national meeting of the association held in Kano on August 20, attended and presided by states and national chairmen respectively, resolved that a farmer who was unable to plant wheat during the last farming season could equally repay with cultivated maize or corn, or even cash where possible.
Under the CBN programme, the source farmers are obtaining the loanable agricultural inputs and implements comprising of 10 bags of fertilizer, hand pumps, sprayer and pesticides, and two bags of seeds for every acre-age of land, a farmer repays with five bags of wheat being cultivated.
He disclosed that of the expected over 11, 000 bags of the commodity, only slightly over 5, 000 bags have been recovered for the CBN programme from the state, indicating only 45 per cent of the produce recovered since the wheat harvest last April.
He said the programme was geared to among others, ensure self-sufficiency in food production and conserve foreign exchange for the country through wheat export. According to him, the bank has pegged a bag of wheat at a cost of N38, 000.