The FGN/IFAD Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) has organised a capacity building workshop on technical support to enable rural farmers to have access to credit facilities.
The National Programme Coordinator, IFAD-VCDP, Alhaji Garba Bala, said the workshop was to provide technical assistance support to selected financial institutions and other value chain actors.
Bala, who was represented by the National Rural Finance Officer IFAD-VCDP, Mr. Seriki Abayomi, said the participants were agric business officers and CEOs of financial and insurance services providers, off-takers, aggregators among others, from Kogi, Niger and Ogun states.
He said the workshop was aimed at enhancing financial inclusiveness of VCDP beneficiaries engaged in various programme activities along the rice and cassava value chain in the VCDP participating states.
According to him, the strategy involves issues relating to savings, credit payments and agricultural insurance currently features prominently at various national and regional fora with a view to deepening the institutionalisation of the concept in development work.
“The institutional arrangement for the implementation of the financial inclusion strategy is relatively new, complex and not fully understood. The continuous training, sensitisation and capacity building of all concerned value chain actors and programme beneficiaries need to be vigorously pursued to domesticate this important concept.
“This is what informed the organisation and conduct of this important workshop by the FGN/IFAD VCDP,” he said.
Also speaking, the State Programme Coordinator, FGN/IFAD-VCDP, Dr. Stella Adejoh, noted that farmers, especially the small holders farmers had always been having difficulties in accessing credit for their farming activities.
“In the rice and cassava value chain that we support, farmers are expected to pay the marching grant of 30 to 40% while we give a certain percentage of 60 or 70 per cent depending on their group categories, to be able to access the grant. But the 30 per cent farmers are expected to contribute is still a huge challenge.
”So, this workshop has brought in different stakeholders from financial institutions to train them on how they can work with our farmers and provide assistance to them in a sustainable manner,” she said.
Two participants, Kudirat Yusuf, Agricultural Development Finance, Jaiz Bank, Abuja, and the Managing Director, Ecosystem Financial Service Aggregators, Mr. Fasasi Sarafadeen, said the workshop had enlightened them about IFAD-VCDP and its grant for farmers especially farm inputs and equipment.