Nigerians experience the worse form of business patronage in the first quarters of 2023 and many businesses still battling to stand strong in the second quarters due to Federal Government policy on naira redesign.
The losses which occurred following the unsuccessful implementation of the government policy by Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN has made All Farmers Association of Nigeria to petition the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammad Buhari and demanded compensation over losses recorded during the implementation of the Central Bank of Nigeria naira redesign and subsequent cash crunch.
The farmers who made the demand in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday in Lagos while reviewing the impact of the policy on food production and agribusiness, said the compensation became necessary to encourage farmers to return to the farms.
The farmers said the compensation could be inform of grants, inputs, fertiliser and farm implements.
The Farmers added that it would enable them to meet the food production target already set for 2023.
Dr Femi Oke, AFAN’s Chairman Lagos and South-West Zone, said a lot of their members were affected during the implementation of the policy, thereby disrupting farming activities.
According to Oke, the cashless policy and naira redesign policy of the Federal Government in February affected farmers seriously.
“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.
“Majority of the farms are situated in the rural areas where there is little or no presence of commercial banks so they had to travel long distance and spend more money in order to buy naira from Point-of-Sale operators to pay the farm workers,” he said.
Oke said it was a great problem because many of the farm workers rely on daily payment because they don’t have bank accounts.
“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 agonising, discouraging and painful than watching your farm produce and hard work go to waste without any solution,” he noted.
Oke urged the FG to compensate for all these losses caused by the ill-timed policy.
“We want the Federal government to take action by assisting us with grants with interest rate as low as five per cent.
“Giving us grant is one way to solve these mirages of problems affecting food production now,” he added.
Oke urged the CBN to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and AFAN on policy formulation and information dissemination to farmers.
“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,” he said.
Oke, however, urged farmers not to relent or be discouraged by recent happenings in the economy but to go back to the farms and support government policies to boost food production and self-sufficiency.
“Be rest assured that the incoming government will do a lot for farmers,” he added.