Last week, the Punch newspapers reported that “no fewer than 200 fish farmers at Ikangba/Agoro, via Ijebu-Ode in Odogbolu Local Government Area of Ogun State, have reportedly lost over N500m investment after a flood hit their clusters of fishponds.”
The news report added that the Chairman of the Ikanga Agoro Fish Farmers Association, Lazarus Okole begged various governments and well-meaning Nigerians to help them recover their investments. “We sincerely hereby beg President Muhammadu Buhari and our dear governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun to come to our aid. This could be in form of granting us soft loans to cushion the effect of these tragic losses so that our members can have something with which they can start all over again.”
This report is heart-wrenching, especially in the face of today’s slowed global economic realities. This is also coming at a time investors are wrestling against growing inflation wiping out the value of their earnings. Today’s economic realities make it even direr for the farmers to come back from this. So, what should they do?
1. Add a bit of pressure on the stakeholders
The Nigerian Government is genuinely interested in making Agriculture the mainstay of its economy. This strategic approach is rational because the sector is huge in job creation potential and delivering food security for Nigeria’s over 200 million population.
To actualise this, the Federal Government established the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF) in 1977 to guarantee agricultural credit facilities granted to farmers. The Chairman of the ACGSF board, Mr. Stephen Okon, recently disclosed that as of May 2022, “the scheme had guaranteed a total of 1,232,326 loans valued at N130.903 billion to farmers in the country”.
In addition, there is the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS) set up to finance Agric’s commercial activities across its entire value chain of production, processing, storage, and marketing. The scheme is an offshoot of the Federal Government’s Commercial Agriculture Development Programme (CADP), which has raised an N200 billion bond by the Debt Management Office (DMO) to be disbursed to beneficiaries at a maximum 9% interest rate.
Another N50 billion Agricultural Credit Support Scheme (ACSS) exists to help expand, fight the impact of inflation, and lower the cost of production.
While many farmers complain that access to these schemes is far-fetched, Ogun Fish Farmers should work assiduously through their pressure group and association to engage CBN and the Federal Government on handholding their members to access any of these funds at this critical juncture.
2. Unravel the grants puzzles
Recently, the Executive Director of the Agriculture and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI) Ilorin, Dr. Olufemi Oladunni, revealed that Nigeria’s agriculture research sector loses about $100 million every year due to its inability to attract grants from local and foreign foundations and organisations.
Research may not be the only sub-sector that is losing the opportunity of getting international grants. Nigerian farmers need to work closely with non-government organisations and international funding agencies on the grants and financial supports available to them and how to access them. It must be noted that grants are instrumental to the development of a thriving agriculture sector due to the non-existence of repayment of interest-bearing obligations and requirements.
3. Hedge Agric risks for guaranteed compensation
According to the United Nations and the Nigerian Emergency Response Agency, flooding alone accounted for an estimated $17 billion loss in 2019. This outcome is increasingly becoming a cause for concern because floodings herald numerous negative occurrences, including daunting impacts on the economy such as lost productivity, reduced work hours, inaccessible transportation systems, and loss of produce or farmland in agriculture.
Simply put, everyone in the Agri-business ecosystem is aware of the risks of this enterprise. With climate change increasingly exacerbating, the chances of environmental disasters are fast becoming routine. It is therefore critical for stakeholders to prioritise this crucial factor in their production successes.
So, how can fish farmers manage this, and what are the possibilities of a favourable loss management system in the event of a flood? The answer to this is simple- leverage insurance.
This step is not improbable because insurance has proven to be effective loss management and risk mitigation tool for farmers and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector. When fish farmers insure their businesses, they can rest assured that they are fully covered and will be adequately compensated when destructive incidents happen.
The Leadway Assurance Agric Insurance plan not only offers full protection to farmers but also provides a timely payout of claims in the case of an unfavourable eventuality. Meanwhile, this is not a tall claim because last in June 2022, Leadway Assurance, together with its partners, paid N111.4m claims to 3,110 farmers in Benue and Nasarawa States, who suffered various losses in their farms.
Want to know more about the Leadway Assurance Agriculture Insurance plan? Please visit www.leadway.com/agric-insurance/ or scan the QR Code at the top right or call the Leadway Assurance Financial Management Experts on 01-2800-70 or email [email protected] for professional advice. You call also request a call back by visiting www.leadway.com/call-me.
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