Chief Audu Ogbeh: Minister of agriculture
By Ginika Okoye
The Nigeria Cassava Growers Association (NCGA) has appealed to Federal Government to review the repayment plan of cassava bread development funds given to farmers.
Mr Segun Adewumi, the National President of the Association, made the appeal while speaking with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday, April 19th, 2017.
He said that although part of the money was given to cassava farmers across the country to help boost cassava production, the assistance was marred as a result of farmers-herdsmen clashes.
Adewumi, who expressed regret that some farmers had yet to recoup the losses they incurred when their produce was destroyed by ravaging herdsmen, suggested the extension of loan repayment period.
“Government released money for us to plant but we couldn’t get market for our produce and the cassava processers who are meant to buy them did not do so, some of our produce rot away.
“Secondly, herdsmen also destroyed the farms of most of our members who took the loan and this has affected the loan repayment.
“We are recovering from the losses gradually but we are pleading with government to review the loan payment because most farmers lost a lot due to clashes.
“We learnt that the Federal Government is trying to revive the Cassava Bread Development Fund.
“Government should take its time to study how the fund worked to see how they can improve on it.
“There were a lot of hitches and start-up problems that need to be amended in the policy,’’ he said.
Adewumi moaned that the Federal Government had yet to commence the distribution of farm inputs to boost cassava cultivation during the wet season farming.
He, however, appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to accommodate cassava farmers in its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) so as to boost cassava production, especially in the forthcoming planting season.
“We have written to CBN and we have been appealing to our members to see how they can meet up with the conditions,’’ he said.
The Federal Government, under former President Goodluck Jonathan, in 2013 launched the N10 billion Cassava Bread Development Fund to boost cassava bread production.
The Cassava Bread Development Fund was funded through the tariff on wheat flour.
The Fund was also used to support research and development efforts on cassava bread, as well as training and support for master bakers in the acquisition of new equipment for cassava bread production.