Posted by News Express | 26 July 2015 | 2,995 times
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCl) on Saturday said the over N350 million assets required as collateral before a farmer could access a loan under the agriculture credit scheme was too much.
The LCCI Chairman, Agriculture and Non-Oil Group, Prince Wale Oyekoya, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that commercial banks usually demanded for the collateral before it granted credit under the scheme.
NAN reports that the Federal Government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), set aside N200 billion facility as agriculture credit for farmers, to help with their farming activities.
According to Oyekoya, the N350 million assets being demanded before the loan could be granted makes it difficult for farmers to take the loan.
"As a result of this, only two farmers have benefitted in the whole of Lagos State since the creation of the credit facility.
"Where do they expect 'real' farmers to get such assets from? It is only 'portfolio' farmers who can have such assets to get the loan after which they divert it into real estate construction. Then real farmers continue to suffer.
"This has affected farmers and many farms are closing down faster than we have experienced before,’’ he said.
The chairman also said that instead of the banks demanding N350 million assets, the facilities on the farm land should suffice as collateral for accessing the agriculture credit.
He said that in spite of this, however, farmers had not been idle as they had many agricultural cooperative societies to provide them with loans.
Oyekoya said the highest amount of loan a farmer could get from the cooperative society was N250, 000.
"N250, 000 is just a drop in the ocean for a farmer who is into integrated farming; especially as the cost of production for farming is increasing on a daily basis.’’
According to him, there are no credit facilities to help cushion the effect of any loss suffered by farmers.
The LCCI chairman said that farmers were usually left to mourn their losses alone while those that could not recover had been forced out of farming business.
He stressed that such attitude towards funding of farming activities by banks needed to change for the success of the sector and diversification of the economy from oil. (NAN)
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