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FG/IFAD financial inclusion project targets poor farmers

The federal government and the international Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have been assessing the impact of their six-year Rural Financial Institution Building (RUFIN) programme…

The federal government and the international Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have been assessing the impact of their six-year Rural Financial Institution Building (RUFIN) programme on the financially excluded rural farmers across 12 pilot states.
 The U.S$27.2 million loans agreement between the government and IFAD was to create an enabling miscrofinance environment for rural poverty reduction and enhance access to rural financial services by rural poor households, particularly woman headed households, the physically challenged and rural youth
The Deputy National Coordinator of RUFIN, Mrs. Unekwu Ufaruna, during a media tour to assess beneficiaries’ progress in three intervening local governments (Maiha, Hong and Shelleng) areas of Adamawa State, stressed that the project’s aim was to bring poor farmers out of poverty.
She said the problem confronting poor farmers in agrarian communities was that poor smallholders farmers were financially excluded.
“I think for the past six years of implementation of the project in Adamawa and other states, we’ve seen result that even baffled our expectations,” Mrs. Ufaruna stated.
Adamawa State Commissioner for Agriculture Alhaji Waziri Ahmadu said the state government was doing everything to complement the FG/IFAD effort to ensure that farmers have access to finance.
 “Access to finance is the biggest challenge in my opinion in agriculture at every level. Even when the finance is there, you find people creating all sorts of obstacles for the farmers to get to it,” he lamented.
The Special Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development on Agricultural Donor Fund, Dr. Auta Appeh, who represented Chief Audu Ogbeh to assess the performance of the programme in the implementing areas in the state, said he was  impressed with the beneficiaries’ tale of success and promised to work hard to ensure it is replicated in all the 36 states  and the FCT.
Some of the women groups that benefited from the project in the agrarian communities of Shelleng, and Maiha told Daily Trust that the project has strengthened their financial incomes because of access to soft loan, which some of them benefited from up to six circles.
Many of them, like Mariam Mohammed, accessed N50,000 to start livestock farming, which she said had improved her income in the last two years.
Hasfat Isiaku and Liatu Yuguda used the N20,000 they got from a micro finance bank they were linked to by RUFIN to start up poultry farms with 20 birds each in addition to crop farming.
The project (RUFIN), which is an FG/IFAD collaborative intervention with counterpart funding from participating states since 2011, comes to an end this 2016.

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