An officer of the Zenith Bank has lamented the attitude of farmers toward repayment of loans obtained through the Anchor Borrower Programme.
The Regional Agric Finance Officer, Zenith Bank, Mr Oluwaseun Arigbade, made this known during a programme tagged: “agricultural training for banking professionals of finance service providers” Tuesday in Abuja.
The programme organised by the GIZ Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI) focuses on the rice sector in Nigeria.
According to Arigbade the level of devotion on the part of farmers was huge, adding that farmers often saw such gesture as their own dividends of democracy.
He noted that though the anchor borrower scheme remained a good idea, it had not been a huge success because of bad attitude of loan repayment by farmers.
“The experience we have with farmers is bad, they don’t want to repay their loans because they feel it is government’s money and it is free,” he said.
Arigbade said that banks often denied funding production because of the risk involved in such ventures, stressing that they would rather fund the processing instead of production.
“What we can do as a bank is to organise some of these farmers into groups to make them have a structure so that they will not be coming as individuals to access loan.
“It is very difficult as farmers to get loans individually, they need a structure the bank can hold responsible,” he said.
Agricultural Finance Advisor for CARI Dr Lisa Wenger, said that the mentality that banks had toward farmers had to be changed, adding that farmers were not stupid as the banks would want them to believe.
She said that farmers knew what they wanted, adding that in spite of the nature of the job, they often went the extra mile to provide food for the country.
Wenger averred that responding time for loans by farmers should be an urgent matter, but bankers hardly treated such with the urgency it deserved.
“Farming activities have to do with season and time and once you have missed the time, it affects the yield in the end.
“If we don’t support agriculture, what are we going to eat in the future, so there is need for the banks to support farmers,’’ she said.