The President of the Nigeria Farmers Association and ex-governor of Nassarawa State, Alh. Abdullahi Adamu, has accused Deposit Money Banks in Nigeria of frustrating the federal government N200 billion loans scheme meant to rejuvenate agriculture in the country.
Briefing the press on this year’s National Agriculture Show which ended at the weekend, he lamented that even executive members of the association with large commercial farms have not been able to access the facility, several years after the money was set aside.
In his words, “it is like getting water out of the rock. I don’t think Nigerian farmers, I mean the real farmers who produce food and agricultural products in this country have been able to access that money. Efforts and hopes have been dashed.
”But if it were like something commercial where you just buy and sell. You can import whatever you want to import from anywhere in the world, then you would see that the manager will come out and welcome you at the gate. He will give you tea and give you the money you want.
“For agriculture, it is not the same story. These are some of the things that are happening. You would see that some of the things that happen on the farm are not your making, there are natural and because they are natural, there is a limit to what you can plan for them- all the same you try to plan.
“Unfortunately our banks are not willing to stomach some of these problems.
“In any case we are talking about generating wealth: working, tilling the land, getting results and making fortune out of it.
“Here we are. I have a farm, I have cattle on the farm that produce milk. I process the milk, package it for sale but I go to banks to give me loan- since I started this , I haven’t got any money.
“I am the President of the Nigerian Farmers Association, I have been trying to borrow money from the bank, till today, I haven’t got it. If you see the investment I have on the farm you would just wonder that I can’t access the funds given to the commercial banks by the federal government for on-ward lending to farmers, but that is the truth.”
According to the ex-governor- turned farmer, agriculture which employs about 75 per cent of the Nigerian workforce has not received enough attention over the years.
He warned that the lack of interest in agriculture among Nigerian youths portend danger that could explode into an unmanageable disasters should the sector continue to be neglected.
“A big disaster is looming if appropriate measures are not taken for the youths to become interested in agriculture in order to replace the ageing farming population,” Alh Adamu warned.
He revealed that farmer in some parts of the country were yet to received fertilizers which were expected to improve the yield of their produce, in October, when indeed some have already started harvesting.
His words, the capacity of the poor farmer is very limited in terms of his ability to finance his operations, meaning that if he has just a hectare of land, he has no money to buy fertilizer.
The real farmer, those who are feeding this country today have no money to buy fertiliser. They depend on government import of fertilizer and the import will not come within the planting season. As I talk to you, there are some parts of the country that have not get fertilizer for this year’s planting season.
The agriculture show which opened last Tuesday Abuja Keffi Road was the fourth in the series and brought together, farmers, research institutes, equipment manufacturers, processors and marketers for greater synergy to make agriculture more rewarding and attractive for investors