The Federal Government has expressed concern over the inability of women farmers to access loans and micro-credit schemes from banks due to high collateral.

Already, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Women Affairs, Mr. Ezekiel Oyemomi, has concluded arrangements to take up the matter with the Central Bank of Nigeria to ensure a review of the process of giving out the facilities.

Oyemomi stated this in Abuja during a courtesy call on him by a coalition of women rights organisation under the aegis of “Women Lead Agriculture”, a project sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development, and the Executive Director of Women Advocates’ Research and Documentation Centre, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi.

The Federal Government has expressed concern over the inability of women farmers to access loans and micro-credit schemes from banks due to high collateral.

Already, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Women Affairs, Mr. Ezekiel Oyemomi, has concluded arrangements to take up the matter with the Central Bank of Nigeria to ensure a review of the process of giving out the facilities.

Oyemomi stated this in Abuja during a courtesy call on him by a coalition of women rights organisation under the aegis of “Women Lead Agriculture”, a project sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development, and the Executive Director of Women Advocates’ Research and Documentation Centre, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi.

He said, “We are reviewing programmes, especially micro-credit schemes for the benefit of women. There is a particular percentage within the provision of micro-credit scheme and you will discover that people who should be beneficiaries, like in most government programmes, are not really benefiting. From our review, we discovered that even though the CBN has done so well, people are not really accessing these facilities.

“Part of the problem is that the women beneficiaries are not aware of it. The CBN may not have anticipated the collateral they are seeking for. Women are very credit-worthy and they are not the type of people that will take credit and run away, studies have shown this.

“The problem really is the financial facilitators who will really like to treat women as the conventional debtors. The women do not have the collaterals.”

The permanent secretary added, “We are putting our papers together to let the CBN know that their laudable schemes are not getting to the target audience because of high collateral from banks.

“We are going to look at what is wrong with the CBN, the banks and the women. The way forward should be to liberalise, reduce and simplify the process of the loans. We are suggesting the review based on the facts on ground.”

In her remark, Akiyode-Afolabi, had earlier said women farmers had limited access to credit facilities, farm inputs, training technology, crop insurance and just about 10 per cent on the lands on which they farm compared to their male counterparts in the country.

She said, “Women are still struggling to be heard on issues affecting them directly. There are little or no involvement of women farmers in local, states and national decision-making and policy issues in agricultural sector.

She said ‘Women in Agriculture’ was inaugurated to support women farmers in organising for leadership and voice accountability in the agricultural sector.

While urging government to work with women to reduce poverty, mitigate and adapt to the effect of climate change, Akiyode-Afolabi said there was need to holistically address the gender gap in the agricultural sector.

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