Cameroon dam opening threatens N700bn CBN farmers’ Loan

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The opening of the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon has raised worries about flooding in several states, potentially endangering the ability of approximately 3.04 million local farmers who benefit from the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Anchor Borrowers’ Programme to repay their loans.

According to the PUNCH, water levels are rising in states like Benue and Anambra and flooding already impacting Niger state, about N700 billion in loans extended through the program hangs in the balance.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has indicated that the opening of the dam could affect as many as 13 frontline states in Nigeria.

The situation has caused water levels to swell in certain conditions, posing a direct challenge to agricultural activities and economic stability.

According to data from the CBN, as of December 2022, N289.19 billion had been disbursed to approximately 1.25 million farmers across 19 states under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.

The distribution of funds varied, with Sokoto receiving the largest share of N49.25 billion, supporting 179,914 farmers. Jigawa followed closely with N48.14 billion allocated to 175,685 farmers, while Zamfara secured N34.46 billion to aid 115,894 farmers.

Other notable beneficiaries encompass Taraba, with N31.1 billion distributed to 154,407 farmers and Adamawa receiving N30.69 billion to support 317,513 farmers.

In contrast, states like Lagos secured the smallest loan amount, obtaining N483 million to assist 2,460 farmers. Similarly, Imo received N1.07 billion designated for 4,415.81 farmers, while Osun and Anambra were allocated N1.26 billion and N1.43 billion, respectively, supporting 4,621 and 6,647 farmers. Abia state concluded the list with N2.67 billion granted to aid 8,152 farmers.

The Anchor Borrowers’ Programme was introduced on November 17, 2015, during the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

This initiative was established to establish a connection between anchor companies responsible for processing and smallholder farmers engaged in cultivating essential agricultural commodities.

However, recent revelations from the International Monetary Fund highlight that only 24 per cent of the loans disbursed under this CBN program have been successfully repaid.

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