Nigeria: Govt Not Interested in Revamping Groundnut Pyramids – Farmers

Mallam Isah Yahaya is the Forum Chairman, Dala Groundnut Farmers Association of Nigeria (DGFAN). The association has members across 28 states of Nigeria, including the FCT. In this interview, he speaks on various challenges militating against groundnut production in the country and why the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should extend its Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP) to groundnut farmers.

Groundnut seems to be one of the crops that have been neglected in the country despite its earlier contribution to the economy. What do you think is responsible for this?

Going back to the 1960s, groundnut used to be the backbone of Nigeria’s economy. It was used in the development of the oil wells. However, the crop has been neglected. Groundnut created a lot of things; it created jobs for the youths and women, but this important crop has been relegated to the background due to a reason best known to those in government.

Is your association not captured in the CBN’s ABP?

The association has been in existence for the past two years but we did not apply for ABP until last year. We applied for APB, but unfortunately, on getting to CBN, they told us the crop was not part of the programme in that year, and that we had to exercise patience.

However, this year, in the speeches of the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, in Kebbi, Katsina and Ekiti states, he said groundnut is part of this year’s programme. We were very happy and we applied, but up till now nothing has been heard from the bank. That is why we are appealing to the present administration and the CBN governor to fulfil their promises to us because of the importance of groundnut.

The season of cultivating groundnut is now, and some farmers have started planting in some parts of the country. Do you think the issue of ABP is still realistic this farming season?

The season is not over. We have many varieties of groundnut. We have groundnut that can be planted by July/August and we have another variety that we start planting from August through October. So we are appealing to be included in the programme. Our members are prepared and really waiting for the programme across all the growing states.

The apex bank is trying to address some challenges of ABP as some farmers of other crops like rice and maize that were involved are said not to be paying back their loans. How sure are you that this will not also apply to groundnut farmers?

There is a saying that we correct ourselves from others’ mistakes. As a result of that failure you are talking about, we have taken a corrective measure by adopting cluster system. Each cluster will take 25 to 50 farmers and each cluster will have its excos; they will be responsible for the distribution of the inputs and at the same time recovery. So the recovery will be easier for us back to the CBN.