Farmers Urge FG To Relax Credit Access Rules To Boost Food Production | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Farmers Urge FG To Relax Credit Access Rules To Boost Food Production

Posted: Jul 8, 2015 at 12:54 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Stakeholders in agriculture sector have appealed to the Federal Government to relax what they called the stringent rules in accessing credit facilities by farmers.

They made the appeal in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) across the country on way forward for farmers to boost food production and ensure food security.

Mr Jerry Ossai, former Delta chapter Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), urged government at all levels to relax all stringent rules to enable farmers access credit facilities to boost food production.

Ossai said that although funds were available to provide lending facilities to farmers in Nigeria, but the conditions were too stringent for rural farmers to benefit.

He said that access to farm inputs like high yielding seedlings, fertilisers, and herbicides among others has made investment in agriculture especially farming very difficult.

“Loans are there to be obtained but the conditions are too stringent for rural farmers to access.

“Liberal terms to cooperative groups may help to address the challenge of funds and access to input may be tied to repayment with harvest,” he said.

Some other stakeholders, who spoke with NAN, also urged commercial banks to promote the Federal Government’s credit policy to enable farmers to access loan.

According to them, such policies would promote farming in Nigeria and attract youths to embrace farming.

They said that lack of access to credit facilities, especially to the rural farmers, was a major impediment to agricultural development in the country.

Dr Francis Umokoro, Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture in Bayelsa, said that the issue of credit loan was one of the major challenges to farmers.

“Some commercial banks, who are responsible to granting loan to farmers should promote the policy; bank should be considerate in their request for collateral,’’ he said.

Similarly, Mr Ezeikel Ogbianko, Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) in Bayelsa, said rural farmers were lagging behind due lack of access to loan.

“Credible platform should be created for easy access to credit facilities to encourage farmers because collateral is not helping matters.

“The rural farmers are the main engine of agriculture in the country but these groups of farmers can hardly gain access to credit.

“Yes, we do have inputs from Federal and State Government; the fertilizer comes in a subsidised price.

“We farmers, want the disbursement of farm inputs to always go through the traditional rulers, who reside in the rural areas and know who the real farmers are,’’ Ogbianko said.

Dr Awotein George, the Chairman of Fisheries Society of Nigeria (FISON), Rivers chapter, urged Federal Government to subsidise fish feeds for the society as it subsidised fertiliser for crop farmers.

George, also a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Agriculture, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, said that feeds provide about 70 per cent of the cost of fish production.

The lecturer said the individual farmers could not access personal loans to invest in agricultural programmes due to their inability to provide the required collateral facility.