The Small-scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON) on Tuesday appealed to the Federal Government and banks to review stringent conditions for farmers to access agricultural loans.
Mrs Mary Afan, the President of the organisation, made the appeal in an interview in Abuja.
Afan said the current conditions required by small scale farmers across the nation before accessing agric loans were too stringent.
According to her, the farmers want credit at single digit and flexibility in accessing the credit.
“You ask a rural woman to bring utility bills, open a bank account and she lives where there is no light or water. Where will she get utility bills?
“The financial institutions also ask women farmers to bring a guarantor who is a civil servant on Grade Level 16. If she doesn’t know anybody, what will she do?
“So, these are some of the difficult conditions demanded by the banks and it takes a lot of time and effort to meet.
“However, since the women are in cooperatives, they should be able to guarantee each other. The banks can give such loans to cooperative society for disbursement to members.”
The president expressed regret over the late disbursement of the credit, saying: “farming season starts in March. If any bank wants to provide the credit, it should be provided in February.
“This is what will enable them to plan.”
She appealed to the government to increase agric budget to 10 per cent as well as to revive the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GESS) to enable women have access to inputs.