Home Business LASCAFAN seeks even distribution of N300bn farmers’ loan

LASCAFAN seeks even distribution of N300bn farmers’ loan


Lagos – The Lagos State Catfish and Allied Farmers Association of Nigeria (LASCAFAN) on Wednesday sought for equal distribution of the CBN N300 billion loan for the expansion of agricultural businesses across the sector.

Mr Babafemi Ajala, the President of the association, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in

Ajala noted that the loan, granted by the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN), would help to enhance agricultural commercialisation and food sufficiency in the country.

He identified finance as one of the major factors militating against the sector, adding that agriculture was capital intensive.

“Finance is one of the major challenges in the agricultural sector, the cost of production is very high and we need government intervention to help farmers have access to affordable fund.

“I want to encourage all farmers to prepare themselves to access the N300 billion loans by the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“The loan will relieve farmers of their financial problem and there will be enough funds to inject into their projects.”

Ajala also sought for a reduction in the interest rate to enable farmers break even.

“In other countries, the interest rates are in single digits.

“No farmer can survive in taking loan from commercial banks, government should assist by reducing interest on loans.”

According to the LASCAFAN president, while interest rate in Nigeria is at 18 to 20 per cent, in Ghana, the interest rate is about three per cent.

Ajala told NAN that the other challenge facing farmers was the marketability of their products.

“The gap created by the low production of fish locally allows for importation.

“If we have off-takers (people and government) who can buy off farmers’ produce as soon as they are harvested, it will help them a great deal.

“In the past, before we started culturing, fishing was usually done on high sea, now there are various types of culturing, which has increased the production level.

“What we consume is more than what we produce and this has given room for importation.

“Government should, therefore, intervene to solve the problem of the marketing,’’ Ajala said.

NAN recalls that the CBN had in December, 2015 announced a N300 billion financing to boost lending to Agriculture and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SME’s) this year.

The apex bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, said that the bankers had agreed that the value chains under agriculture needed to be `de-risked`, to encourage large scale farming and boost productivity in the sector.

“The Bankers’ Committee is geared to support the efforts of government to create employment and support government’s efforts to diversify away from oil to achieve government’s objectives in 2016,’’ he said. (NAN)

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