New Naira: Farmers beg FG for compensation over loss

Oluwanifemi Ojo
Oluwanifemi Ojo
The President of Nigeria

The All Farmers Association of Nigeria has requested that the Federal Government provide compensation to farmers for the losses they incurred during the introduction of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s naira redesign policy and the ensuing cash shortage.

According to The News Agency of Nigeria, the farmers made this request while assessing the policy’s impact on food production and agribusiness.

They argued that compensation was necessary to encourage farmers to return to their farms, and suggested that it could be in the form of grants, inputs, fertilizers, and farm implements, which would help them reach the 2023 food production target.

The chairman of AFAN’s Lagos and South-West Zone, Dr. Femi Oke explained that the cashless policy and naira redesign policy of the Federal Government in February had a significant impact on farmers, disrupting farming activities for many members of the association.

Oke said, “From what we have seen and heard so far, the loss recorded during the period is huge and on the high side, especially for our members that are into livestock, poultry and piggery and processors.

“If we are to quantify these losses, it runs into billions of naira that we have lost during this period.

“The poultry farmers were the most affected, it was just like the period of the COVID-19 which we experienced in 2020. We pray never to have a repeat of the COVID-19 again because it was a great loss.

“We also discovered that many farmers could not pay their labourers and this became a huge problem.”

According to the him, most farms are located in rural areas with minimal or no commercial bank presence, resulting in the need to travel long distances and incur additional expenses in purchasing naira from Point-of-Sale operators to pay farm laborers

“Many farmers could also not transport their farm produce such as pepper, vegetable and other perishable items to the market due to lack of cash and patronage from customers.

“The situation led to loss of farm produce right before the eyes of the farmers. It was a sad sight to behold.

“There’s nothing more agonizing, discouraging and painful than watching your farm produce and hard work go to waste without any solution,” he added.

Oke called on the Federal Government to provide compensation for the losses incurred due to the poorly timed policy.

According to the report, he proposed that the government assist farmers  with grants at a low interest rate of 5%, as this would be an effective solution to the current problems facing food production.

Oke further suggested that the Central Bank of Nigeria should work with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and AFAN to develop policies and disseminate information to farmers.

In his words, “We have said it times without number that the CBN should not be dealing or dictating to farmers directly.

“CBN should work with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the umbrella body of farmers, which is AFAN, on issues affecting farmers.

“CBN should desist from dealing directly with them to avoid misinformation and misrepresentation.”

Nonetheless, Oke encouraged farmers not to give up or be disheartened by recent economic events. Instead, he urged them to return to their farms and support government initiatives aimed at increasing food production and achieving self-sufficiency.

Oke also assured farmers that the incoming government would offer substantial support to the agricultural sector.

A farmer, Mrs. Adewunmi Malik-Adeola, also commented on the matter. She called on both the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria to involve farmers in future policy implementation to avoid unnecessary losses resulting from the naira redesign policy.

Malik-Adeola pointed out that there was insufficient information about the policy in rural areas, where most farmers live.

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