Flood: Farmers who collected loans from Individuals go into hiding
October 16, 2012 16:28
Gassol (Taraba), Oct. 16, 2012 (NAN) Some farmers affected by the recent flood disaster in Taraba, who collected loans from wealthy individuals to carry out farming activities, have started going into hiding and self imposed exile.
This is as a result of mounting pressure on them to repay their loans.
Investigation by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) revealed that wealthy individuals who provided the loans have not only mounted pressure on the farmers to pay back, but also threatened to take legal action.
In Gassol Local Government Area (LGA) of the state, hundreds of farmers have collected short term loans from business men under private arrangement, referred to as "Bada Kaka" in Hausa.
Bada Kaka is an arrangement where a farmer collects a loan from an individual to cultivate his field and pays back with an agreed interest, usually very exploitative, after the harvest.
In an interview in Kwata-Nanido in Gassol LGA, one of the beneficiaries, Malam Sule Modo said he collected N250,000 from a Jalingo based business man on the understanding that after harvest he would pay him back with an interest.
He said this is usually done by given the business man a certain number of bags of rice or whatever crop that the amount was given out for.
Sule, who said he had invited his creditor to come and see the extent of damage done to the farms, said that instead of sympathising with his plight, the man was insisting on getting back his money.
'If I can not find money to pay him back, I would be left with no other option than to leave town," Sule said in Hausa language.
The Village Head of Kwata-Nadido, Malam Ibrahim Isa, who confirmed to NAN the plight of the farmers, explained that farmers in the area usually collected such loans to carry out their farming activities.
“This is so because they could not meet the requirements of formal financial sector in issuing agricultural loans.”
NAN checks in farming communities such as Achi-Arage, Gidan-Ibrahim, Magemu-Sabon Gari, Maigemu-Jukun, Gidan-Kano, Gidan-Dibidi and Yamini, all in Gassol LGA, showed that several farmers were living under perpetual fear of the consequences of not repaying their loans as a result of the destruction of their crops by flood.
NAN further learn that shortly after the flood disaster, some of the farmers went into hiding or have left for undisclosed destinations, leaving behind their wives and children.
Another farmer, Malam Ibrahim Galadima, who took a loan from a business man based in Mutum Biyu, said the N200,000 he collected was at an interest rate of 25 per cent, payable in four months.
He said, however, that all his rice farms where he expected to harvest about 120 bags of Rice, were destroyed by flood while he was under pressure to repay the loan.
''You see, l have been collecting the loan from this man for the past 10 years and I never defaulted. Now, despite the disaster that destroyed my farms, he is pressurising me to pay him.''
Ibrahim said that if the pressure continued, he and other loan beneficiaries would have no option than to go into exile to avoid prosecution.
He said that it would be very difficult for them to repay the loan as they lost every thing to the flood, adding that to feed themselves and their families has become a problem even now.
Meanwhile, victims of the flood disaster who relocated to the other areas, have started returning to their villages even as they were warned to stay away because of the likelihood of fresh flood in the state in the next few weeks.
Areas where our reporter saw the victims returning in their hundreds included Kwatan Nanido, Hassan, Zipp, Kwatan Ibrahim,Gidan Kano, Maigemu-Sabongari and Achi-Arage, all in Gassol area council of Taraba. (NAN)