Access to farm inputs in Kogi still very poor, says Expert


 Mr Tunde Ikuenayo, the state Coordinator of Youth for Agriculture (YFA), on Friday said that access to farm inputs by rural farmers in Kogi was very poor and discouraging.
Ikuenayo, who disclosed this in Lokoja, said  that farmers across the state were finding it very difficult to access farm inputs like fertiliser, seeds, herbicides, pesticides and equipment like tractors and harvesters.
He added that rural farmers were also facing the challenges of access to funds, delay in accessing the funds, lack of storage facilities and good access roads to transport their farm produce to the markets.
"Since Local Government Councils are not involved in loan disbursement, let them have warehouses where farm inputs are easily and readily accessible by rural farmers at subsidised rates.
"This should be properly channeled and adequately monitored by government and all stakeholders to avoid irregularities and sharp practices, “he said.
Ikuenayo stressed the need for farmers in the state to have quick access to agricultural fund and farm inputs without delay at the right season of the year.
He noted that many youth in the state were willing and ready to go into grassroots farming but lacked the financial capacity to effectively carry out their plans.
He, therefore, urged government at all levels to disburse agricultural funds to farmers through microfinance banks, saying: ``they are more reliable in loan recovery compared to commercial banks.
"Microfinance banks are more committed in recovering funds due to their effectiveness in monitoring and ensuring that farmers utilize the collected loans for their intended purposes.
"The fear of inability to recover disbursed loans is the main reason why CBN and commercial banks are finding it very difficult to give loans to rural farmers without collateral." 

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