Mixed feelings trail farmers’ access to fund


Mixed feelings from agricultural experts have continued to trail the allegation of marginalisation and inability to access fund levelled against the Federal Government by farmers based in the South-Western and South- Eastern parts of Nigeria.
An agricultural consultant at the Lagos State Agricultural Development Authority, under the aegis of Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Olaosebikan Saka, blamed stakeholders for their plight.
According to him, it is not that the intervention funds are not there, but farers do not follow due process.
“Many farmers say that they cannot access these funds, as most of them failed to meet up with the prerequisites, because the government wants to see what you are doing before they can put in their money to help farmers,” he said.
He added that farmers need to start their agricultural activities first before they can approach the government for funds for expansion of their businesses.
According to him, many people have benefitted from the various schemes, just that the number of people that do not have access to the funds because they cannot meet up outweighs the number of farmers that meet up with the requirements.
However, an agricultural researcher with the Global Forum on Agricultural Research, Mr. Akintunde Akinmolayan, argued that many farmers do not access loans to fund their businesses, because some of the funds are not real.
He insisted that some of the funds are only in the books, as the number of farmers that need those loans do not match up with the actual funds available for borrowing.
“The government is not sincere regarding the disbursement of loans that they claim they want farmers to benefit from, because some officials have earmarked about 70 per cent for certain politicians or portfolio farmers and by default, those people get the money, the remaining 30 percent goes to people who scout for the loans,” he asserted.
He added that another challenge that makes it difficult for farmers to access the loans is information dissemination, as they fail to access information about the fund. According to him, lot of young farmers who have brilliant ideas should be given priority, without stringent conditions like unrealistic interest rates.