The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) advised members to develop agri-business proposals to access the N200 billion Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) intervention fund. Mr Femi Oke, the State Chairman of the association, gave the advice in a recent interview in Lagos. He said that members needed to develop agri-business in order to take advantage of the CBN fund.
The CBN, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, introduced the Commercial Agriculture Credit Guarantee Scheme (CACS) in 2009 to finance agriculture value chain. The value chain begins from input supply to cultivation and finally to marketing. The CACS was originally introduced to fast-track the development of the economy through credit facilities at a single digit interest rate. An eligible farmer is entitled to N5million and above.
Oke said that the fund has been available but that farmers and agribusiness owners were not utilizing it. He said that the fund was an avenue for farmers to develop their productivity through the use of modern technologies.
“We are happy with the intervention fund by the CBN being disbursed through commercial banks. All they need to do is forward a credible business proposal through any commercial bank. The fund repayment plan is at a single digit interest rate which is very good because farmers cannot deal with double digit interest rate,” Oke said.
The chairman, however, called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to advise commercial banks to desist from collecting/making other charges, which discourage farmers from accessing the fund. He alleged that the banks were making the process too difficult for farmers thereby scaring them away.