Maize farmers lament ‘stringent conditions’ to access funds

Although there are billions of naira in intervention funds for agriculture in Nigeria, country’s farmers have lamented that they could not access the funding.

Over the years, Nigerian farmers have called on the government to increase funding in agriculture and more important, lossen the strigent conditions attached to access funding for business.

Agriculture is one of Nigeria’s most important sectors of the Nigerian economy, employing more than 60 per cent of the country’s labour force.

In spite of several billions of naira in intervention funds such as the N200 billion Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS) Fund established by the CBN and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources as a strategic response to the lingering food and energy crisis; N750 billion agriculture fund routed through the Bank of Agriculture and commercial banks to enable farmers access loans at a single digit rate to finance different agric programme, farmers said conditions for access the loan are too strigents, thus, discourage them from accessing the funds.

A maize farmer in Oyo State, Miftah Adediran, speaking with the Nigerian Tribune on his 18,000 hectares farmlands in Otu, Itesiwaju Local Government Area, said “we are not encouraged to access loans as commercial farmers in Nigeria.”

According to him, while trying to access loan to buy some equipment to use on his farm, he was asked to deposit 20 per cent of the facility sought as “counterpart funding.”

He said that discouraged him from taking the loan, adding that “If I had that kind of money, I would not have approached the bank to a loan in the first place.

“I can tell you this, there are loads of things on the paper and where they work the most is on the paper. If you get to real situation, you find out that what is said in the news is very different from what actually obtains. I watch the Bank of Industry’s advertisements and they tell you, you can apply for the loan online, you can do this or you can do that. But if you get there, put in your papers, the Bank of Industry will ask you to bring collateral. Almost all of the agric finances in Nigeria will ask you to meet stringent conditions and that is killing farmers in Nigeria.

“What most of us do is raise money from family and friends, because if you wait for the intervention funds, you can’t meet your projects,” he said.