The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) in collaboration with International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has trained financial institutions having Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) in Kogi State.
Speaking at the training centre on Friday in Lokoja, the State Programme Coordinator of IFAD-VCDP, Dr Stella Adejoh, said the training was to sensitise the paeticipants on VCDP activities and make them realise the need to give appropriate support to Kogi rural farmers.
She noted that the VCDP engaged consultants who were in Kogi last week to conduct a need assessment for the financial institutions to be able to see the gaps in understanding as well as the implementation.
She said the gaps had been identified hence the need to bring the financial institutions together to discuss on those gaps and to also build their capacity in the area of agricultural financing to give support to rural farmers in the state.
She expressed optimism that the training would enlighten the financial institutions to be fully ready to provide financial support to rural farmers under the VCDP in the state.
Dr Adejoh emphasised that the training would increase farmers access especially women and youth to financial services as well as providing insurance cover for them.
She disclosed that over 1000 rural farmers had been profiled across the five benefitting local government areas in Kogi, being supported on demand driven basis.
According to her, the goal and objectives of VDCP is to reduce rural poverty, increase food security and accelerate economic growth on a sustainable basis.
She stressed that the incomes and food security of poor rural households engaged in production, processing and marketing for rice and cassava in the targeted Local Government Areas (LGAs) would be enhanced on a sustainable basis.
She urged the participants to pay rapt attention in order to increase their skills on how to relate with farmers in providing support, and in recovering of loans given to farmers.
Also speaking, Mr Ariyo Olanrewaju, a Consultant to IFAD-VCDP Kogi, said the training was on technical assistance to financial institutions that offer services to VCDP beneficiaries in Kogi.
”One of the things we want to show the financial institutions during the training is for them to see that agric is now a business.
”The goal of financial institutions is to make profit, so if they see that agric is a business, and we also offer them the technical support to manage the risk in agriculture, they will be willing to give loans to the farmers,” he said
He said the training would go a long way in ensuring that rural farmers have easy access to loans from financial institutions as the identified knowledge gap would have been addressed.
On his part, Mr Reuben Joshua, Rural Finance Officer, IFAD-VCDP Kogi, said the training would ensure financial inclusiveness of farmers benefitting from the program and bridge the gap.
Joshua added that the farmers would enjoy various financial services being render by the financial institutions in terms of credit facility which had been a challenge.
He advised the participants to pay rapt attention to the training so that the financial institutions would be on the same page with the IFAD-VCDP for mutual benefits.
Two of the participants, Rose Adejoh from Sterling Bank; and Ehimaiye from FCMB, assured the readiness of their various financial institutions to assist farmers to get easy access loan.
Adejoh stressed that IFAD-VCDP platform would give comfort to the banks which would make it easier for the rural farmers to get their financial support.
Ehimaiye said that the training would bridge the knowledge gap between the financial institutions and the farmers.