ACTIONAID Nigeria on Thursday
called for the involvement of smallholder
women farmer organisations and civil
society organisations in the development
and implementation of governmentsupported
agricultural credit initiatives.
Food and Agriculture Programme
Advisor, ActionAid Nigeria, Mr Azubike
Nwokoye,made the call yesterday in
Abuja when he presented the outcomes of
Assessment of Government Expenditure
on Agriculture/Community Scorecards
on Smallholder Farmers’ Access to
Agriculture Credit.
He said it had carried out the assessment
in Bauchi, Delta, Ebonyi, Gombe, Kogi,
Kwara and Ondo states as well as the
Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Nwokoye said that the assessment
of public agriculture financing project
was aimed at strengthening the
capacity of farmer groups and women’s
organisations.
According to him, it is also aimed at
engaging the government agencies and
institutions for effective and efficient
agriculture budget allocations and
utilisation that favour smallholder
women farmers.
Nwokoye said that women made up
80 per cent of smallholder farmers in the
country.
He said that out of the 270,545 farmers
who benefited from the Agricultural
Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund ACGSF,
between 2012 and 2016, only 29.77 per
cent of them were females, while 69.89 per
cent were males.
“In addition, the access of smallholder
farmers to agricultural credit is skewed in
favour of male farmers.
“Even though it is a known fact that
smallholder farmers in Nigeria are
mostly women farmers, their access to
agricultural credit remains limited.
“For instance, only few of the female
farmers were able to access agricultural
credit from the ACGSF guaranteed
scheme which has been operating for
more than three decades,’’ he said.
Nwokoye said that the inability of
female smallholder farmers to access
agricultural credit could significantly
hinder the Federal Government’s efforts
to improve agricultural productivity and
food security in the country.
He stressed the need for the government
to de-politicise and re-capitalise its
agricultural lending institutions such
as Bank of Agriculture and insist on
performance-based approach of doing
business.
Nwokoye said that the government
should integrate effective support services
such as loan acquisition processes, access
to genuine inputs, use of improved
farming technologies and produce
marketing into the agricultural credit
services meant for smallholder farmers.
Speaking with newsmen, Mrs Janet
Olaleye, the National Public Relations
Officer, Smallholder Women Farmers,
urged the Federal Government to ensure
that only practising farmers had access to
agricultural credit and subsidised farm
inputs.
She, however, urged those politicians
who had benefited from the governmentsupported
agricultural credit schemes
to use the loan for the exact purpose for
which it was given. NAN


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