Fertilizer Suppliers and Producers Association of Nigeria (FESPAN) on Monday urged Federal Government to help farmers access Central Bank of Nigeria intervention fund to enable them produce crops and animals at profitable rate.
The Managing Director, Bauchi State Fertilizer Company, Alhaji Mohammed Yahaya Jalam, made the call on Monday in Kaduna, while addressing FESPAN meeting with farmers, input suppliers, agro-dealers, VBAs and financial institutions on exploring various sources of finance available at favourable interest rate for the stakeholders with the aim of boosting the agriculture industry.
According to Jalam, most Nigerian banks offer agriculture loan with interest rates ranging from 19% to 25%, but the CBN intervention fund is available at a single digit interest rate of 9%. Though, there are requirements to be met by the farmers which makes accessing the loan by ordinary farmers difficult if not impossible.
“The federal government has made provision for interventions for lots of sectors in the country. There are lots of intervention in agriculture the only problem is where and how to access them. Federal Government should help farmers and other agriculture stakeholders access the CBN intervention fund this is the only way we can take our agriculture out of the woods.
“Many banks have loan facilities for agriculture. FESPAN bring farmers together with financial institutions to see how they can facilitate loans but their loans are at high rate of 20% to 25% which no farmer can break even.
“FESPAN is assisting farmers on improving their farm yields through right and proper application of fertiliser. You cannot do anything without fertiliser in agriculture we want to see how we can help farmers access fertiliser at lower and cheaper rate.”
The Executive Secretary, Fespan, Mr Gideon Negedu said the associations trying to sensitise agric stakeholders on adulterated fertiliser, while engaging government on relaxing some policies that have made it difficult to get raw materials for fertiliser blenders.
Represented by the Administration Officer, Mrs Faisal Abdulsalam, Negedu said, “the meeting with s targeted towards boosting agriculture financing and productivity. The issue of adulteration has been on for a while but we are sensitising farmers on how to identify fake fertilisers through the colour, presence of stone in it and laboratory test.
“Fespan is also working to convince government on why it need to lift the ban on urea to enable our blenders get raw materials for their production,” Negedu added.