Wednesday, 8 June 2016

ActionAid urges govt. to simplify credit facilities to women farmers

A consultant with ActionAid Nigeria, Dr Oji Ogbuneke, has called on the federal and state governments to simplify processes and mode of accessing loans and other credit facilities for women farmers.

Ogbuneke made the call in Lokoja at a community participatory meeting on ``Public Financing of Agriculture`` with various women farmers` groups and stakeholders in the agriculture sector in Kogi on Wednesday.

The meeting was organised by Participatory Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID), ActionAid local partners in Kogi.

According to him, the rigour and difficult processes women farmers go through in applying for the loans, processing and assessing the loans mostly after the cropping season make it unattractive.

The consultant said that failure to meet the needs of farmers in the long run use to defeat the goals of giving out loans.

He, therefore, urged government to ensure that agricultural loans and facilities were released when they are most useful and relevant to the farmers.

The expert opined that loans granted during the dry season when farming activities are at the lowest ebb could be diverted to other uses.

In her speech, Executive Director of PIBCID, Mrs Gift Omoniwa, said it was discovered that women farmers hardly access credit facilities after using a measuring baseline to ascertain their standing to such facilities.

``After they must have been subjected to rigours and difficult processes spanning over a long time, most of the time the loans do not get to the people they were actually meant for, `` she said.

Omoniwa said the yardstick used in arriving at the findings include women`s level of awareness; accessibility, processes, affordability, timeliness, repayment period, adequacy and usefulness of the credit and participation of small holder farmers among others.

``It was discovered that the state is lagging behind with a score of 2.45 on a scale of 1-5 which is the overall average showing that women farmers in the state do not have access to these loans and credit scheme of government, `` she said.