By Arc Kabir Ibrahim
This Administration has made very far reaching decisions to fast track the attainment of food sufficiency from the enactment of the Agriculture Promotion Policy (APP), the Central Bank of Nigheria, CBN, Anchor Borrower Programme, the NALDA Integrated Farm Centre programme, the NIRSAL as well as NIRSAL Microfinance Bank as well so many windows of credit etc, deserves commendation.
The unfortunate low level of the implementation of these programs coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic and insecurity may be responsible for the slow attainment of the much desired food security.
There are other threat factors which may have to be tackled for the seamless attainment of food security apart from the aforementioned, though, are:
1. The need for all these efforts to be synergistically implemented under the Food Security Council is paramount.
2. We should also avail the SHFs credit readily and at an interest rate of between 01 to 03% since the CBN’s reduction of the interest rate to 05% for the period of COVID-19 pandemic has not been very impactful.
3. All Commercial Banks in Nigeria should also be encouraged to avail the farmers with credit at a maximum 10% interest rate especially for the large scale farmers and Agro-Allied entrepreneurs and Processors.
4. There is the need for an appropriate loan repayment moratorium for the different commodities to enable sustainable food production because the maturing period of the different crops vary especially as the farmers for now are predominantly engaged in rain fed production.
5. The Farmers need to be sustainably encouraged to insure all their farming activities as a matter of necessity to mitigate the effects of flooding, drought and any unforeseen circumstance rather than making insurance to cover loans only as generally done today!
6. The availability of credit to a larger population of farmers is also necessary to accelerate the attainment of the much desired 17 SDGs and the resultant reinvigoration of our Food System to bring about FOOD SECURITY.
Arc Kabir Ibrahim is the National President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, wrote in from Katsina State.