…$1.2 Billion Farm Loan
A few agriculture specialists have demanded that Brazil’s $1.2 billion farm loan be disbursed appropriately to support Nigeria’s modernization of its agricultural sector.
In separate interviews on Thursday in Lagos, the experts made the recommendation.
To modernize Nigerian agriculture, the federal government recently inked a $1.2 billion memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Development Bank of Brazil.
The financing is meant to establish contemporary agro-centers with financial facilities around the nation and enhance agricultural mechanization.
Agriculture expert Akin Alabi urged the government to ensure that funds are allocated appropriately so that the industry can achieve the desired outcomes.
More funding, from domestic or international development partners, is constantly needed to increase agricultural output, according to Mr. Alabi. The issue is whether Nigeria’s $1.2 billion loan from Brazil to support agricultural modernization will be managed effectively.
Will the money reach the smallholder farmers at the grassroots level? Farmers on a commercial or large-scale scale? What will this fund’s payout model be? Will the farmers receive subsidies or loans in exchange for it? These are the issues that need to be addressed to prevent “portfolio” or “political” farmers from receiving funding and from impacting all agricultural value chains.
According to Mr. Alabi, the money may be utilized to improve value chain additions, irrigated farming, greenhouses, processing, extension services, agro-production, and post-harvest loss reduction.
“We can use the funds in these areas to give the Nigerian agriculture sector the modernization we want,” he stated.
According to Fadlullah Issa, a fellow at the National Agriculture Extension Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), the country’s transition from subsistence to modern farming was important.
According to Mr. Issa, most Nigerian farmers (between 80 and 90%) are still cutlass and hoe farmers, based on a recent study.
Mr. Issa pointed out, “Yet, we are making claims that we have tractors available to local farmers, but these farmers will tell you they saw a tractor when you go to the rural areas.” “Using machinery is the key to taking Nigerian agriculture to the next level.”
“Modernization requires the application of appropriate recommended practices, including a soil test and agrochemicals,” he continued.
“The best way to use this loan is to disburse it appropriately to the right channels, as food security is threatened by population growth.”
Additionally, he emphasized how crucial it is that the money go to the actual farmers for whom it was meant and not to anybody else.
Mr. Issa clarified that these monies shouldn’t be given to “political” farmers, pointing out that a significant portion of the cash from the Anchor’s Borrowers Scheme went to unanticipated recipients, which is why there was a lot of talk about the funds not being recovered.
“There should be a policy plan to disburse the funds,” he continued. To support the modernization of the industry, we also need to improve our extension services. What are we modernizing if our goal is to modernize the agriculture industry while excluding education from the picture? To further this modernization endeavor, we need to train more extension agents.