Stakeholders bemoan high interest on agriculture loans , including the Trade Initiative Network farmers, under the aegis of the Federation of Agricultural Commodities of Nigeria (FACAN), have expressed worry over high interest rate on the Nigerian Insurance Risk Sharing for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) credit scheme.
They lamented that despite NIRSAL’s lofty objectives, small scale farmers may not be able to access the funds because of the double digit interest rate, adding that the operational guidelines put in place by NIRSAL was only good on paper, but the workability may not be feasible.
Speaking during a one-day stakeholder consultation on increasing small holder farmers access to credit, the National Programme Coordinator of Trade Network Initiative, Chris Kaka said: “No farmer given loan at a double digit interest rate would be able to make returns and go home happy.”
He explained that to a great extent, NIRSAL facility has been able to mainstream gender into the scheme, as there is no need for women to present landed properties as collateral before accessing loans.
The coordinator also noted that farm inputs provided to farmers under the Anchor Borrower Scheme are over invoiced, when compared to price at the open market, stressing the need for the Central Bank to address the issue.
An official of FACAN, Tunde Bakare, attributed farmers’ inability to access the facility to the fact that they were not carried along in the policy formulation, implementation and monitoring of the credit scheme, as they usually use the top-bottom approach, rather than the bottom-top approach.