With the kick-off of the new farming circle lace with complaints by farmers over their inability to access farm credits and facilities, a Director of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (state) has identified impatience and lack of professional advice as some of the hindrances to accessing government agricultural credit facilities by farmers.
The call was made by the State Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Umaru Yusuf Muhammed, while receiving a delegation from Farmers Without Boarders-Nigeria Farmers Group and Cooperative Society (NFGCS) at his office in Lafia on Wednesday in respect to the ongoing farming season.
Mr Umaru said the federal government has prioritised promoting its agricultural revolution policies to ensure food security, job creation and to increase foreign exchange through the numerous intervention packages made available but it is left for farmers to identify them, study the modus of their operation and follow due processes to access the facilities of their interest no matter the constrain, which he said is normal in every bureaucratic setup.
According to him, ‘‘the government has come up with a number of programmes to make the atmosphere conducive for private sectors to thrive under the agricultural sector. Under the financial aspect, we have the Anchor Borrowers Programme with NIRSAL. All these have been made available but you have to meet the requirements to assess these facilities.
‘‘Most often, people go half way and along the line, they give up. These monies, even if it is CBN intervention initiative, it is money that must be recovered. That is why the commercial banks will not relax the requirements because the whole idea is not only to access this money but to invest it and pay it back.
‘‘There are also other interventions directly under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in which agro chemicals and other farming imputes are been made available to farmers at subsidised prices, he said.
While commending the efforts of NFGCS, he said he was impressed by the recent visit of the spokesperson of the President, Femi Adesina to Gaate farm adding that what he saw on ground when he visited last year was impressive.
‘‘What I saw on the ground is in conformity with the alternative green programme of the federal government which is the agricultural revolution policy.
‘‘I am sure this is what bodies like the Nigerian Farmers Group and Cooperative Society are doing to complement the effort of the federal government to ensure self-sufficiency and also creating jobs in the various communities they are operating.
So the important thing is for private bodies like you to find a way of relating with some of these government agencies to enable them assess some of these supporting services, advised Mr Umar who further revealed that, NFGCS with its huge investment is qualified to register as agro dealer under the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative arrangement to enable them easy access to fertilizers.
While thanking him for his professional advice, Mr. Adewale Bello who conveyed the message of the National Coordinator, Comrade Retson Tedheke said the group will continue to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to solicit for advice that will facilitate their applications for government grants.