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DAILY TRUST

21

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Business/ Agric NACIMMA tackles CBN FG to strengthen over 50/0 lending toagric farmers' co.operatives sector

From Mohammed Shosanya,lagos THE Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA)has faulted the Central Bank of Nigeria( CBN)directive to commercial banks to increase lending to agriculture sector by 5%, Director-General of the Association, John Isemede, in a chat with Daily Trust said the lending is insufficient and would not in any way improve agricu lture in the country,

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Sanusi Lamido San'usi had last week said- that commercial banks should increase lending to the agriculture sector by at least 5 per cent of total loans this year to boost farming output. He said lending to agriculture currently makes up 1 per cent of credit by banks, , But Isemede said when compared with the mass importation of products into the country, the 5% lending is too small and

urged the apex bank to consider additiorial increment of -lending to the' agriculture sector. ' He also implored the apex bank to critically look at the interest rate ' and gestation .period on loans to farmers with a ' view to preventing them from the harsh policy of . commercial banks: According to ' the NACIMA hoss, Agriculture Bank not Bank of Industry should be vested with the power to disburse loans to the ailing sector. Speaking in the same vein, First Deputy President,Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KADCIMA), Abdullah Mohammed Sanni told our correspondent that the 5% increase would not necessarily change the fortunes of agriculture in the country. According to him, in addition to the increased lending, the apex bank and the Federal government should consider a well organized Agriculture Extension Service and agriculture association of Farmers. This, he explained, would ensure that only eligible agriculture operators are given access to the lending.

By Tina A. Hassan grouped than when they work as individual farmTHE Federal Government ers. has said that it is commitThe minister also ted to strengthening exist- explained that governing policy and, laws of ment has effectively repo' cooperatives to enhance sitioned the co-operative . their efficienCy, . viabilitY sub-sector through the and sustain ability, Cooperative RevitaliMinister of AgriCill" zaiion Programme to ture and Rural Develop~ fo.cus on the mobilizament, Prof. Sheikh Ahmed tion and organization of Abdullah stated this at a small holder farmers in sensitization ' workshop '. the country to encourage organized jOintly by the them to participate in all Federal Department of agricultural programmes. Co-operatives of the min- ' Specifically, he adds istry and the International . that government has thus Labour Organisation ' . far.e,n.couraged the estab(ILO)- in Sheda, the Fed- lishment 'of one specialeral Capital Territory. iled agricultural coop' He noted that agri- erative society in each of cultural development has the 774 local government from time immemorial areas, 589 of which are been predicated on co- dedicated to service delivoperative culture, hence ery in agric inputs and the 'need to promote such produce marketing, traca practice. tor hire service scheme He said a co-operative and co-operative microprOVides better access finance. A statement from the to inputs and services to farmers because they are ministry signed by Ibra-

him Mohammed indicated . that ILO Country Director who was represented by Mr. Dennis Zulu said the organisation is ready to lend its expertise to Nigeria in her quest to enthrone viable co-operative laws and policy and manpower development. :

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,,-,'~s 'effectiveiy' , repo'$itioned . ' -the co-opera- . _ tivr sub-sector '. through the "-, Co'operative ' ' : Revitalization Programme to fo~ us on the m9bilizatiol'l .' anCl organizati~n of small ho,lder farmers 1 ,. in ~he country

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Nigeria highest contributor to agric in sub-Saharan Africa ByTIna A. Hassan NIGERIA has been identified as the highest contributor to agriculture research and development recorded in Sub-Saharan African between lOO I to 2008. A study on agriculture research and development conducted bytlie International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) shows that the region recorded a 20 percent growth within the peTiod but Nigeria is largely responSible for it by contributing up to one third of the percentage growth. AccoTding to a recent pTess release by , IFPRI, 'most of this growth occurred only " in a nandful of countries. Nigeria alone accounts for one third of increase' because spending in most of the countries has stagnated or fallen, Accordirig 'to IFPRI, a survey it conducted in 32 African countries reveals that although the growth is slow, <esearch 'and development has returned to normal in many of the larger countries especially Ghana, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda; spending in 13 otheT countries

has fallen. The study equally predicted that the state of agriculture research and development in Francophone West African COuntries is grave because of a lack of national investment in the sector. According to Nienke Beintema, one of the experts conducting the research, "studies show that investments in agricultural research and development have greatly contributed to economic growth, agricultural development, food security, and poverty reduction in developing regions over the past five decades. New agricultural technologies and crop varieties have helped to increase yields. improve nutrition. conserve natuTal resources, and expand rUTal markets:' The study noted that a weU-deveioped, funded , and staffed .agricultural research programme are crucial if farmers are to be more productive and prosperous in the future. The report shows, however, that only 'arew countries are making the necessary investments in agriculture.

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DAILY TRUST, 13 APRIL, 2011