LAGOS – The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has appealed to the Federal Government to provide easy access for farmers to obtain agricultural loans.
Mr Okon Edehoema, the National Secretary of the association, made the appeal in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.
He said that many farmers could not boost their production capacity due to lack of access to government guaranteed loans.
According to him, there are many bureaucratic bottlenecks preventing farmers from benefiting from financial incentives provided by the Federal Government.
“Many farmers have not benefited from various agricultural funds because of stringent conditions put in place by disbursing agencies.
“Some state governments usually divert funds meant for small scale farmers to service other causes.
“They end up issuing paltry sums to the farmers and call it empowerment,’’ he said.
He said the Bank of Agriculture had granted loans worth N150,000 in November 2014 to groups of 10 farmers per agricultural cooperative society.
“The new structure alienates millions of farmers in the country.
“This new process cannot guarantee the anticipated job creation and improved produce exports from the agriculture sector.
“Capital is very essential to the start up and expansion of any business and agribusiness is not an exception,’’ he told the newsmen.
He said that a few young farmers had benefited from the recently launched Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP).
Edehoema appealed to government at all levels to empower small and medium scale farmers so that they could expand their businesses.