From Magnus Eze, Abuja
The African Initiative for Rural and Agriculture Development (AIRAD), has decried poor loan repayment capacity of farmers, just as it called for the involvement of the private sector in the disbursement and recovery of loans to farmers in Nigeria and Africa generally.
The group also amplified the need for African Governments to implement the Maputo Declaration where African leaders were urged to commit 10 per cent of their national budget to agriculture.
Chairman and Countries’ Coordinator of AIRAD, Alhaji Boboi Aliyu, stated this while addressing journalists ahead of the agriculture African Summit scheduled for next month in Abuja.
According to him, financing agriculture should not be vested only on government, but should be a collective responsibility of all, especially the private sector.
In addition, Aliyu called on African governments to peg interest rate on agriculture loan at three per cent as practiced internationally.
He attributed the inability of some farmers to pay back loans obtained from commercial banks to lack of proper management and necessary information to guide farmers before disbursing loans.
Aliyu said that the theme of the forthcoming agriculture summit, “developing a sustainable system for agriculture and poverty alleviation” is aimed at addressing the mirage of problems facing the agricultural sector.
He further attributed the shortfall in the agricultural sector to high interest rate on loans, poor organised market, limited agro processing and value addition as well as the preponderance on rain fed agriculture to irrigation.