Some farmers associations on Friday in Lagos lauded Federal Government’s single digit interest rate on farmers’ loan through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as the country’s economy tilts toward non-oil development.
The presidents of the associations in separate interviews told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that it was a laudable step toward improving commercialisation, processing and self-sufficiency in the agriculture sector.
Mr Sola Adepomola, the President of Farmers Empowerment and Development Association of Nigeria (FEDAN), said that the rate would be less than nine per cent.
Adepomola explained that the package was that the CBN would pay 70 per cent of the loan, while the farmer and the bank would pay the balance of 30 per cent.
He said ``we heard that government is giving farmers less than 9 per cent interest rate on farmer’s loan; we have been to CBN severally.
``The director in charge of finance development has told us what to do; and we have approached some banks.
``The banks we approached are requesting us to pay a certain amount of money; so, we want to pay the money so that we can get the loan from them.
``Initially, getting loan was difficult but the CBN has made it easy by paying 70 per cent while we and the bank will pay the balance of 30 per cent,’’ Adepomola said.
He added that some farmers who had earlier taken loans from some commercial banks were finding it difficult to pay the 3.5 per cent interest rate monthly.
Adepomola said that FEDAN would be accessing the loan as a group for a more organised process.
Chief Femi Oke, the Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Lagos State branch, also stressed the need
for farmers to form groups or associations to access loans.
Oke said government should encourage farmers’ associations to apply for these facilities in group for proper identification and data capturing.
According to him, most banks are complying and the only challenge is the demand for Certificate of Occupancy which very few farmers will be able to afford.
Mr Segun Atho, the South-West Zonal Coordinator of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) also lauded government’s effort toward easing farmers’ access to loans.
Atho said that although the gesture was timely as agriculture was the country’s transformational sector in the diversification drive, more still needed to be done.
``We are excited about the nine per cent interest rate on farmers’ loan by Federal Government and the CBN, but we still believe that more could be done.
``We would like commercial banks to align with the CBN so that they would implement the policy as stipulated by government.''