The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for directing the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make access to agricultural loans easier for farmers.
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday, Chief Daniel Okafor, the National Vice-President of AFAN, said the directive was a welcome development.
President Buhari on Tuesday directed the CBN and the agriculture ministry to bypass the knotty issues of collateral describing it as “a terrible colonial legacy’’, to enable farmers easy access to agriculture capital.
The President gave the directive during an audience with members of the United Kingdom-based Foundation for Good Governance for Development at the State House.
He, however, assured that his administration’s priority was to ensure that the efforts of hardworking farmers in the country are respected.
The AFAN vice president said the directive, if implemented, would encourage more farmers, especially youths to come into agriculture.
Okafor suggested that any farmer who would benefit from the loan collateral bypass must go through a registered farmers’ association and cooperatives.
This, according to him, would help to ascertain the real farmers to facilitate the repayment of the loans.
“It is a welcome directive.
“What the President said is true and it is a major bottleneck for farmers in accessing loans because farmers have no collateral, especially women and youth farmers.
“They are interested in going into agriculture but they do not have collateral to access loans.
“That is the only thing that can help this country and farmers to produce more food but it must be monitored by the organised private sector (farmers’ associations).
“You don’t give people loans without having stakeholders that you can call upon.
“Associations should be used to get things done because if not, everybody will become a farmer overnight in Nigeria.
“There must be a way to checkmate people that are real farmers or not.
“Associations under cooperatives must guarantee their people. If there are no checks and balances, the monies will not be repaid,’’ Okafor said.
He appealed to the CBN to assist all commodity associations to collate the data of their member farmers across the country for proper planning. (NAN)