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By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja

House of Representatives on Wednesday resolved to investigate the disbursements and compliance of all agricultural loans and credit facilities to farmers from 2009 to date which was aimed at enhancing national food security in the country.

The House placed the loans at over N275 billion.

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To this end, the House mandated its Committees on Banking and Currency and Agriculture to execute the task.

The resolution followed the consideration and adoption of a motion titled “Need to Investigate Disbursements of all Agricultural Loans/Credit Facilities to Farmers from 2009 to date to Enhance National Food Security”, moved by Hon. John Chike Okafor from Imo State at the plenary.

The House noted that between 2009 and date, the Federal Government has approved the disbursement of funds to farmers in various Schemes to the tune of over N275 billion, ranging from Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS) to Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), to help farmers improve agricultural production and guarantee food security in Nigeria.

It also noted that apart from increasing food supply, the Scheme was to grant agricultural loans to large and small scale commercial farmers to lower the prices of agricultural produce, generate employment and increase foreign exchange earnings.

Okafor while moving the motion said that “since the approval, most farmers have not been able to access the loans due to stringent requirements being demanded by banks from prospective borrowers and the alleged siphoning of over N105 Billion meant for farmers by Management of NIRSAL.

He expressed concerned that “food production has not attained the expected level despite the approval of over N 275 billion facilities to farmers.

According to him, the projected diversification of the economy from oil production to agricultural production and increase in agricultural output, food supply and promoting low food inflation will not be achieved if farmers were unable to access loans meant to increase agricultural production.

The motion when commitedited to a voice vote recieved the support of the majority of the lawmaker which enabled its passage. 

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