Mr Okon Edehoema, the National Secretary of the association, made the appeal in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.
He said that many farmers could not boost their production capacity due to lack of access to government guaranteed loans.
According to him, there are many bureaucratic bottlenecks preventing farmers from benefiting from financial incentives provided by the Federal Government.
“Many farmers have not benefited from various agricultural funds because of stringent conditions put in place by disbursing agencies.
“Some state governments usually divert funds meant for small scale farmers to service other causes.
“They end up issuing paltry sums to the farmers and call it empowerment,’’ he said.
He said the Bank of Agriculture had granted loans worth N150,000 in November 2014 to groups of 10 farmers per agricultural cooperative society.
“The new structure alienates millions of farmers in the country.
“This new process cannot guarantee the anticipated job creation and improved produce exports from the agriculture sector.
“Capital is very essential to the start up and expansion of any business and agribusiness is not an exception,’’ he told the newsmen.
He said that a few young farmers had benefited from the recently launched Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP).
Edehoema appealed to government at all levels to empower small and medium scale farmers so that they could expand their businesses. [Source: Nigerian Observer]
Olam Nigeria Limited, a leading agri-business company in Nigeria, has announced the annual results of its Olam Livelihood Charter (OLC).
In a press statement by Ade Adefeko, Head Corporate and Government Relations, Olam Nigeria, the company announced the provision of over N536 million as financing at zero interest rate to 12,000 Nigerian cocoa, cashew and sesame farmers under the charter.
It says that as the OLC enters its fourth year, the Charter sets stringent standards for supporting smallholder communities in Olam’s networks through eight principles.
The statement says the principles are financial support, improved yields, better labour practices, market access, improved crop quality, traceability, social investment and minimising environmental impact.It says only by meeting all eight of these principles can a sustainability programme be awarded OLC status.
According to the statement, three of Olam International’s 30 flagship OLC initiatives are in Nigeria, where Olam works with cashew, cocoa and sesame smallholder farmers.
It says this programme is in collaboration with TechnoServe based in Washington and New York based Rainforest Alliance as well as other local agronomists in Nigeria.
The statement says these and other initiatives provide zero interest financing and agri-inputs, training on good agricultural and labour practices, as well as social investment in the community.
It says such investment include providing educational materials, creating bore wells for safe water, building a police station and school, development of local roads and the installation of solar-powered lighting.
The statement says since the OLC’s launch in 2010, the number of Nigerian farmers benefitting from all eight OLC principles has risen to over 12,000 small-scale farmers, spanning almost 25,000 hectares of cultivated land.
Highlights from 2014 OLC initiatives in Nigeria include working with 12,000 farmers in Osun, Ondo and Cross-River for cocoa. Also, Kwara and Oyo farmers were assisted for the production of cashew, while Jigawa, Bauchi, Nasarawa and Benue farmers were supported for sesame, with about 18 percent of the total farmers being women.
Other highlights included 24,140 hectares under cultivation, N536 million in finance to farmers, including short-term micro-financing, advances for crop purchases and mid-term loans for the procurement of farming inputs.
Olam also gave a total of 578 training days to farmers for them to imbibe good agricultural practices among others. In his comment, Adamu Sani, a sesame farmer from Kirikasama village in Jigawa State, said “Olam Nigeria is the only company that has come to our village to conduct a workshop on training farmers. Not only that, they introduced improved sesame seeds which they distributed to farmers free of charge. More than 95 per cent of my fellow villagers are benefitting from Olam Nigeria,” Sani said.
In addition to the OLC programmes, Olam Nigeria has launched an outgrower programme around its rice farm in Nasarawa State, in collaboration with USAID and the National Agricultural Development Programme.
Mukul Mathur, Olam Nigeria Country Head, said Olam Nigeria has grown a lot in its 25 years of operation. “We’ve grown from exporting cashew to investing along the whole agri – supply chain, from wheat milling and rice farming to manufacturing family favourites such as Tasty Tom tomato paste, employing around 8,500 Nigerians.
“And where we are able to work directly with smallholders, we are proud to see the principles of the Olam Livelihood Charter helping them to increase yields and quality.
“Our commitment to Nigeria and its ambition to provide food security is unshakeable,” Mathur said. SOURCE: TRIBUNE
The Bank of Agriculture (BOA) has said that it will assist the Agro-allied Agricultural Commodities Cooperative to access loans from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The N220 billion loan is set aside by the Federal Government to be disbursed through the Central Bank of Nigeria to Nigerian farmers.
During a meeting with agro-allied farmers in Abuja, the Representative of the BOA, Mrs Attimah Rufina, appreciated the efforts of the farmers to partner BOA in accessing their loans.
“We appreciate your struggle to make BOA your partner. BOA is part of the N220 billion loan; we are part of the committee that the Federal Government set up for the loan.
“We are prepared to go with you to the CBN. They are still the one to bring out the money for us in the BOA to give to you farmers.
The BOA representative, however, noted that one of the challenges of the bank is recovery of loans from the farmers. She urged the leadership of the agro-allied to partner with the bank in order to help recover the loans from the farmers.
In her response, the Coordinator of the Agro-allied Cooperatives, Professor Victoria Adesuyi, pledged the support of the cooperative to recover any loan taken by its members. [SOURCE; TRIBUNE]
The Kaduna State Government in partnership with the Bank of Agriculture has distributed cheques worth 1billion naira to small scale farmers in the state.
This is aimed at boosting agriculture and food security in Nigeria.
The money was disbursed to cooperative societies and individual farmers who have fulfilled the conditions of the Bank that enabled them to access the loan.
Both the Kaduna State Government and the Bank of Agriculture provided N500Million each as counterpart and marching fund for the purpose of encouraging small and medium scale farmers in the state.
In selecting the beneficiaries, a technical committee was set up by the State Ministry of Agriculture which screened and cleared the beneficiaries before they could access the loan.
They were selected from the three senatorial zones of the state.
Each cooperative association has an average of ten 10 farmers and will receive loans from N2.5million and above, while each individual beneficiary would receive the sum of N250,000.
In his speech at the ceremony, Governor Muhktar Yero said that the scheme is aimed at providing finance to farmers in a bid to increase performance in the sector.
The Governor reiterated the commitment of his administration towards improving the agriculture sector in the state as a way of diversifying the economy.
He noted that with the dwindling Statutory Allocation from the Federation Account, it has become imperative to revamp the agricultural sector.
He said that the loan would assist the farmers in increasing their productivity and also create employment opportunities in the drive to achieve food security and poverty alleviation in the state.
The Acting Managing Director of the Bank of Agriculture, Mr. Babatunde Sadikuin, said that the loan was geared towards developing agriculture into viable business, and moving it from subsistence to mechanized system.
The loan, which attracts an interest rate of 5 to 10 percent has a long term payment plan.
Some of the beneficiaries shared their their joy with Channels Television. They expressed confidence that the intervention would translate into significant progress for their farming activities.
They promised to make good use of the money in boosting their businesses and to boost food production in the country.
The Bank of Agriculture, has as its core mandate, the promotion of economic empowerment of Nigerians and the development of Nigeria’s rural communities, by supporting Agriculture and Agro-allied, Small and Medium-scale enterprises. [SOURCE; CHANNELS TV]
Mr Okon Edehoema, the National Secretary of the association, made the appeal in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.
Mrs Bola Adeyemo is a retired bank manager who is now into agriculture – Vitamin A cassava cultivation and processing into various products in Eruwa area of Oyo State – creating jobs for tens of people and empowering hundreds of women in agribusinesses. She sheds more light on financing challenges in agribusiness, her business and projects in this interview with
FEMI IBIROGBA. Excerpts:
As a banker turned agribusiness woman, what actually motivated you to start an agribusiness?
My agribusiness started through the urge to help other people and also to do business. Agribusiness is a business that grows everyday and that is one of my main interests. Looking at the rural community, the need is enormous. I’ve been able to set up a microfinance scheme for them, give them money to plough the land twice, to weed and they are expected to pay after the harvest.
Where is your farm?
I have my farm in my husband’s village in Eruwa axis. I went there because agribusiness is a business you must do on a dependable farmland so that when your farm is fully grown, someone would not come and displace you. That is why I have decided to farm there.
You are involved in vitamin A cassava stems dissemination. How effective are your distribution and farmers’ response to vitamin A cassava cultivation?
I think I will let you know why and how I got into vitamin A cassava itself. Back then, whenever I branched at the village to say hello to the children and women, I observed that at least twice in a week, I would pick a baby to the hospital, always falling sick, but after enquiry from the doctor after I had paid, the doctor made me realise that what they were eating was not good enough; that was what was aggravating infections. One of those days I was just reading a newspaper in my office in Ibadan and I heard that there would be a syndicate meeting that was held somewhere about a product coming out, vitamin A cassava. I picked the newspaper and phoned the reporter to know where he got the information and he told me the meeting was at IITA. So I came to IITA when I started my farming project to have a little bit of information on the cassava. On enquiry, I was told that it was true but when it was time for farm trial, I would be got on board. That was how I came on board; because of my passion for the nutrition of the rural community. As I’m talking to you, to the glory of God, I’ve reached close to 10,000 farming households in terms of giving then planting packs, training and awareness.
What effect has vitamin A cassava had on the health of those children?
Seriously, it has affected them positively, but I cannot say this is the figure. However, each time I produce vitamin A cassava garri, it is always sold, and the families that I used to give for free are always asking for more. Another way I know it has affected the rural community is that the number of women that have started producing chin-chin and other products from cassava (vitamin A) flour is on the increase and I have discovered that even stark illiterate farmers came to me and said, “we all eat the garri and fufu, but we also need vitamin A cassava flour based chin-chin to chew while working on the farm.”
How can women be empowered to be more productive in agriculture?
Empowerment of women needs good leadership and my heart yearns that more educated women should come into agriculture to provide leadership for these rural women. I’ve been able to identify their problems. By the time they want to prepare the land, most of the time they cannot hold N4,000 to rent a tractor because, as they try to gather the money, the household needs something. They cannot close their eyes to the needs of the family. So far, in my own little effort, I’ve been able to assist a few of them to have money to prepare and maintain the land and pay back after the harvest.
Apart from your microfinance project, in what other ways are you helping the women?
I’m assisting them in developing their business from their agribusiness life. Many of them have started producing chin-chin from Vitamin A cassava flour. I’ve started re-organising their processing environment so that they can add good value to their products and have more money. They are now adding value to their raw products.
What can the government do to assist these farmers apart from individual interventions?
The government needs to be sincere and provide them infrastructure like processing centres. We need water. I’m going to carry placards and letters to the local government to please make a borehole that is close to the processing centre, because if they don’t have water, trekking to fetch water to wash the tuber is really difficult.
Oyo State AFAN recently claimed that they had four tractors for 1.8 million farmers. Is this business when we talk about agriculture?
That is not a business if we look at the ratio. I want to find out if they were the last set of tractors bought. You will still need to find out from them how often do they break down? What I’m saying is that even the tractors do not work well. In my farm, I have one tractor and it is still not enough for me to manage my personal farm, compared with millions of farmers. And that is not the only problem. After renting the tractor and harvesting the product, the road is bad. I have some youths and take 10 of them to farm everyday, but I observe that if I’m not there, they do not have the zeal to work because there is no motivation.
What do you think is the solution to lack of interest in agriculture by youths?
Increasing funding to agriculture will go a long way. This will imply more tractors and other farm inputs are made available. A big cassava processor in Nigeria said farmers could never get loan facilities from banks. He got N8 million loan because they knew he is in processing and he has other means to pay the money. They are not giving him the money to plant cassava.
So, this is one of the problems. I once approached a commercial bank and the manager told me that I should not waste my time, that the fund released to the bank by the Central Bank of Nigeria had been given to a particular farmer that was into full agriculture and production, but they knew he had other means to pay the money. [SOURCE: TRIBUNE]
In line with efforts to make agriculture a viable business venture, the Commodity Brokers Association of Nigeria (CBAN) yesterday stated that the environment for sustainable agriculture demands building on active engagement with others.
Speaking in Abuja at the CBAN induction press briefing, Chairman of CBAN, Prince Lekan Fadina, noted that the association must be committed to developing an effective partnership strategy built on history, the continuous search for a platform that will make it the centre of both national and ECOWAS regional body for promoting agriculture as a viable business and as instrument for addressing unemployment, poverty alleviation and enhancing the sustainable livelihood of millions of Nigerians.
According to him, the present administration is addressing the restructuring of commodity exchange with a view to making it more useful.
Earlier, the chief executive of CBAN, Shehu Kajiji, commended the Federal Government, Ministers of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI), Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Nigerian Commodity Exchange (NCX) and a number of eminent Nigerians for contributing to uplift the association.
He said NCX officially launched its pilot electronic Warehouse Receipt System (e-WRS) in conjunction with the Stanbic IBTC Bank, Bank of Agriculture (BoA), Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS), Federation of Agricultural Commodity Associations of Nigeria (FACAN) and Commodity Brokers Association of Nigeria (CBAN).
The Chairman stressed that the association must key into the schemes with a view to ensuring that it succeeds and helps in moving the commodity trading forward.
“We must ensure that positive, strong policy support is put in place for achieving successful commodity market. We as major stakeholder must be able to influence policy and practice through research and advancing the process. We must put at the disposal of governments both at the federal and states, and also with different agencies of government a “Partnership for Development Initiative” that can add value to policy formulation, implementation and follow up.
“We have made contributions to the growth of the market, we have invested as commodity dealers, commodity firms and commodity researchers. We must appreciate that without commodity (products) there is no job for us. We are the link between production and after sales. We can create the market and the beauty of it is that price discovery is at the heart of the market. The commodity broker is the driver,” Fadina stated. [SOURCE: DAILY SUN]
The Nigerian government has launched a programme aimed at creating more employment for Nigerian youths in the agriculture sector.
The ‘Youth Employment In Agriculture Programme’ (YEAP) was launched on Tuesday in Abuja by President Goodluck Jonathan.
President Jonathan said his administration would not relent in the execution of programmes that would engage the teeming Nigerian youths in profitable and viable economic activities especially in agriculture.
The government also launched a fund that would finance agriculture in Nigeria, creating an opportunity for young Nigerians to access finance for agricultural ventures.
“Nigerian youths will not just take agriculture as a way of life, they will run agriculture as a business.
“Nigerian youths have showcased Nigeria in positive light more than the politicians and Nigeria needs younger and more entrepreneurial commercial farmers, as the ageing population of farmers are posing challenges to the system,” President Jonathan said.
Large Arable Land
The two programmes launched are targeted at reaching up to 750,000 Nigerian units over five years with financial support to enable them establish and run wealth creating agribusiness enterprises.
Nigeria is making efforts to diversify its economy that has depended hugely on revenues generated from sales of crude oil. The diversification of the economy has become a priority of the government at a time that the price of crude has continued to drop.
Prior to the discovery of crude in Nigeria, agriculture has been the mainstay of the economy of the nation, with large arable land left uncultivated.
Unemployment among youths has been identified as one of the biggest challenges facing Nigeria and for the President, time has come to create jobs and lay a new foundation for Nigeria’s economy to grow.
President Jonathan has launched several employment generation programmes in the past and he believes that diversification into agriculture will save the country from a slump in oil prices.
In his speech, the Minister for Agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, captured the overall goal of the YEAP and the Fund for Agricultural Finance (FIFAN).
Dr Adesina said it was an outcome of the search of those who would help the government to grow the economy and take agriculture to the next level.
Testimonies poured in from some of the beneficiaries of the Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria.
Mosumola Umoru, Samuel Ayinde and Mariam Sanda have benefited from the YEAP/FIFAN programmes and they commended the government for creating access to finance needed in pushing their agribusiness to a new height.
The Ministry of Agriculture has mapped out over $15 million investments, with the support of other world bodies like the German Development Bank, and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority while the Federal Government has promised to create the enabling environment for the Nigerian youths to grab the opportunity. [SOURCE: CHANNELSTV]
In a major boost to the Nigeria’s agriculture sector, bank lending to seed companies has hit N6 billion this year from the N4.2 billion recorded in 2013, according to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina.
Speaking on Monday in Abuja at a two day national seed retreat organized by the National Agricultural Seeds Council, the minister said that before the government’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA), the Seed Council was regulating less than 10,000 metric tonnes (mt) of seed of all crops as against about 60,000 mt of seeds required.
He said that the value of seed redeemed by farmers through seed companies and distributed under the government’s Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GES) increased from about N5.4 billion in 2012 to about N10.4 billion in 2013.
He said: “Bank lending to seed companies rose from about N1.895 billion in 2012, N4.2 billion in 2013 and over N6 billion in 2014.
“The value of seed redeemed by farmers from the seed supplied by the seed companies under the GES increased from about N5.4 billion in 2012 to about N10.4 billion in 2013.”
Adesina said that efforts must be made by both government and private companies to identify relevant issues and bottlenecks related to the smooth growth of the sector.
He urged the Council to make certain that efforts are made to ensure the production and marketing of good quality seeds by the various seed producers in the country.
“There has been a quantum leap in organized seed production of major arable crops such as rice, maize, sorghum, and soybeans from about 44,487 mt in 2012 to 149,484mt in 2013.
“To further strengthen the seed system and market, the see sector must be fully supported to develop capacity and gain experience on the entire complex component required for an effective and productive industry which is the fulcrum of the nation’s food security,” he added.
Earlier, the Acting Director -General of the Council, Dr. Philip Olusegun Ojo, said that the success of ATA depended on the national seed sector’s ability to provide high quality seeds of improved and adaptable crop varieties to farmers.
He added that crops production efforts will not yield the desired results unless the issue of seed is adequately addressed.
Ojo said: “High quality seed has been recognized as the most important input in crop production, as it is not only the cheapest means of increasing yield but also critical in raising the efficiency of other agricultural inputs used in crop production.” [SOURCE: WORLD STAGE]
The Kogi Commissioner for Agriculture , Mr Zacheus Atte, said 3,000 validated peasant farmers in the state are to get N100,000 loan each in its first phase of agriculture loan disbursement .
Atte stated this at a news briefing in his office in Lokoja on Friday.
The commissioner said the target beneficiaries for the loan were in the realms of 100,000 farmers.
The commissioner said he had collated 83,000 validated farmers’ names and that the disbursement to 3,000 farmers would commence after the bank must have done its own quality validation on the names.
Atte said instead of the initial 2,935 farmers that were to benefit from the 30 million agriculture loan, 100,000 real peasant farmers will be granted N100, 000 loan each to boost agriculture in the state.
He said the disbursement is going to be in phases , adding that once the first phase of the beneficiaries have received their fund, processing for the next phase will commence immediately.
The commissioner commended Gov. Idris Wada for his determination to do the needful for the state’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda.
Atte said he had visited the local government areas in the state to make sure that only real peasant farmers are shortlisted.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Mohammed Yusuf, said the ministry was determined to ensure success of the loan scheme.
He said it was for that reason the ministry had been meticulous in its procedure for disbursement. (NAN)
The Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM) has disclosed that it is offering N300 billion as funding support to Nigerian exporters in 2014 as part of its commitment to boost credible non-oil exports in the years ahead
Making the disclosure at the 2014 Nigeria Non-oil Export and Investment Development Conference organised by Business Journal yesterday in Lagos, its Managing Director, Mr. Roberts Orya, stated that the bank has been working on deepening export-import trade and attracting foreign investments.
Orya, who was represented by the Head of Strategic Planning of NEXIM, Tayo Omidigi, said that over $1.3 billion in foreign exchange has been facilitated through the bank, financially intervened in guarantees with over N100 billion and created 2,000 direct jobs.
Meanwhile, the NEXIM boss has stressed the need for the diversification of the economy, away from oil and the importance to promote the non-oil sector, urging stakeholders to look deeply into avenues that will induce growth to develop the sector.
He regretted that the country failed to invest in the non-oil sector especially in oil palm, as Nigeria has low agriculture productivity.
According to him, in other countries, 10 per cent or more of their budgets are allocated to agriculture while Nigeria budgets just 3 per cent to the sector resulting in persistent low records in the raw solid minerals of the non-oil sector. According to him, while South exports over 65 per cent of its solid minerals, the limited investment in the minerals sector stagnates its contribution to 1 per cent to the growth of the economy.
Orya further listed the non-availability of long-term funds, poor infrastructure and transportation constraints as part of factors that have continued to hamper trade and investment with other countries.
Speaking on the theme, “Nigeria – Beyond Oil and Gas,” the Group Managing Director of Mutual Benefit Group, Dr. Akin Ogunbiyi, decried that Nigeria’s dependence on oil over the years has adversely affected its agriculture.
He stated that the drastic drop in the price of oil was a wake-up call on the country to turn the economy around to become multi-faceted.
“It is incumbent on us as a country to pay much deserved attention to agricultural products, move towards greater industrialisation, develop our solid minerals and revive other sectors of the economy,” Ogunbiyi asserted.
He stressed that the private sector has a role to play but that the enabling environment must be created for the sector to contribute to the non-oil sector.
The Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Business Journal, Prince Cookey, said that government and people of Nigeria must look beyond oil if they are to banish poverty and improve the living condition of its people.
According to him, the time has come to expand the revenue base of the nation to have multiple streams of income for financial freedom, sustainable economic growth, reduction in poverty and better life for the people of Nigeria. [SOURCE: The Sun ]