THE All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) on Monday called on commercial banks in the country to relax requirements for credit facility to help farmers access loans easily.
The National Financial Secretary of the association, Dr Tunde Arosanyi, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He said easy access to loan as well as sufficient funding of the agricultural bank were necessary for the growth of agriculture in the country. “Most farmers still find it difficult to access credit from the commercial banks. The commercial banks’ agric desk units must be encouraged to relax some of their conditions for these peasant farmers and lower the interest rates to single digit, with less strenuous conditions.
“And most importantly, the bank of agriculture must be adequately funded to be able to access credit to the rural farmers, if we must improve in our production capacity as a nation.”
Arosanyi called for the use of genetically processed seedlings for higher crop and livestock yield.
The agric expert added that the use of genetically processed seedlings would enhance production of quality produce.
“For example, most of our farmers get an average of about two per two tons of maize from one hectare; whereas from the same one hectare, in U.S., you can get five tonnes or six tonnes because the quality of the seed is genetically moderated to have high yield.
“When a genetically moderated seed is being encouraged into the market, it will further enhance the output of the farmers,” he added.
“A good example is the TMS 419 cassava from IITA. It is very rich in vitamin ‘A’ and very prolific in output. Instead of the 18 tonnes of FTB that we get from cassava, you can get 30 tonnes and above. It should be encouraged in all areas of our agricultural output.”
Arosanyi said the TMS 419 cassava variety would be made available to farmers this year.
“The bio-technology centre must be encouraged to partner with all research institutes so that they can come out with seeds and seedlings and also exotic breeds in the livestock and fishery industry that can compete with international breed.