A German Development Agency, Green Innovation Centre (GIC) for the Agriculture and Food Sector, Nigeria, says it will spend 3.5 million Euros to support agricultural financing programme in the country.
Caroline Trimborn, the Project Coordinator of GIC, disclosed the plan at an Agricultural Production and Processing Economics Training organised for journalists in Abuja
Trimborn said the financing programme which would commence in November, was geared toward working with commercial banks to get them ready to provide agricultural finance for smallholder farmers.
“The agriculture financing programme is about 3.5 million Euros and it is not looking at financing farmers; it is looking at working with banks to be ready to finance smallholder farmers.
“Farmers can access these monies from the banks. We are working with banks to come out with good criteria that farmers can need and apply for this fund.
“The collateral will be specific to the banks and the kind of schemes they are coming up with, but you will always have some kind of collateral,’’ she said.
The project coordinator, who described agriculture as a business, noted that the centre was building the capacities of farmers in partnership with the government in seven states across the country.
Baba Ashmara, the Team Leader of the GIC in Nigeria, said the project was a development initiative of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, a German development agency.
Ashmara said the project was working with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers through strengthened linkages along the maize, rice, cassava and Irish potatoes value chains.
He said that the project had built the capacities of no fewer than 450 extension agents and equipped them with working tools to enable them assist smallholder farmers to adopt Good Agricultural Practices (GAP).
In a lecture, an agriculture expert, Dayo Mejabi, emphasised the need for every farmer or producer to keep records to determine profitability or otherwise and guide decision making.
Mejabi who said that agriculture should be seen as a business, said that good agricultural practices could improve yields and income of smallholder farmers.
GIC is working in seven states of Benue, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Kano, Ogun, Oyo and Plateau, to improve the livelihood of farmers through improved agricultural technologies.
The training was organised by the GIC for agricultural journalists to boost their knowledge of the venture.