The Vice President of Potato Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (POGPMAN), Jallo Jauro and other stakeholders have lamented over the harsh conditions imposed on them before accessing loans.
They said accessing financial benefits meant for farmers was becoming a challenging issue as “majority of them are not captured to benefit from that”.
The stakeholders made the lamentations during a meeting on adoption and utilization of “orange flesh” sweet potatoes meeting held in Yola.
“The prerequisite of the bank is so harsh that when you do not bribe your way you cannot access the funds which have become a challenge for the ordinary farmer to make up his mind,” said Jauro.
He said SMEDAN under POGPMAN was giving loans to farmers in Kaduna, Abuja, and Ibadan and urged the farmers to register as organization rather than an individual for easy access.
“We have stopped any association from receiving any kobo from a farmer. Because there is an outcry from farmers saying the associations are dubious”.
Earlier speaking, Director Federal Department of Agriculture, Mrs Karima Babangida reiterated the objective of convening the stakeholder workshop as to create a forum for the stakeholders in the sweet potato value chain to chart a way forward for the realization of the fullest potentials locked up in potato production, processing and marketing.
She explained that several challenges have been identified in the potato value chain; right from the seed system protocols development to the marketing of the produce.
“The challenges are quite enormous, but not insurmountable. Therefore, all hands must be on deck to achieving this feat. There is no formal seed system for sweet potato, lack of access to clean vines, low adoption by farmers, unavailability of off-takers, inadequate processors and organised markets among others, these have been major drawback in the development of sweet potato value chain in the country”.
She urged various research institutes, agencies and development partners with mandates on the Sweet potato value chain to work acidulously on creating solutions to the numerous challenges besetting the value chain using new technologies and innovations to further improve production, processing and marketing.