ActionAid Nigeria appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and financial institutions to increase the supply of loan facilities to women farmers, who were described as representing 60 percent of actors in the agricultural sector.
The coordinator of the ActionAid program for food and agriculture, Azubike Nwokoye, made the appeal during a roundtable on access to agricultural credit for small-scale women farmers.
He said the lack of access to credit has hampered the productivity of women farmers who are the main drivers of the sector. He also said it had become imperative to call on the federal government to consider policies that would improve the challenges faced by women farmers.
According to him, the CBN, the Bank of Agriculture, the Bank of Industry and commercial banks must pay attention to the challenge of reducing poverty in the country.
He said: “This is why one of the strong recommendations is that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the State Ministry of Agriculture create a budget plan, an annual budget plan on strengthening access. to credit.
“The annual budget will help. If these are consultants that FMARD will obtain to support various women’s cooperatives to be able to access the available funding. The process will ensure that other services are accessible, with the appropriate support. They should be able to pay on time.
“Due to the security situation in the country and even the problems of climate change, repayment of the loan could be difficult. That is why we brought up agricultural insurance to go hand in hand with the credit facilities.
Women farmers under the auspices of the Small Scale Women’s Farmers Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON) have expressed frustration with the high cost of credit.
The organization’s secretary, Nnanna Mercy, called on the federal government to be gender-sensitive in designing financial programs that would make it easy for women farmers to access loans.
“For agricultural activities, it has been good and bad. For every woman, especially to access agricultural credit, it is very difficult. The government, as you know, is business-oriented and, as you know, is not pro-rural women. The way it is designed makes it difficult for the average farmer to access.
“Government finances are mainly available to portfolio farmers, political farmers, because when you design a program for rural women and tell them to bring in a level 14 officer as a guarantor, or you tell them to ‘providing land ownership, these are constraints that affect rural women.
“What we’re saying is that we should be gender sensitive in the design of our financial program, because of all these constraints that women face, let’s rationalize it for women, so that there is have some kind of understanding, ”Mercy added.