By Fatima Muraina
Unless remedial steps are taken, the ongoing cash crunch might trigger off a nationwide food crisis.
Stakeholders in the agro allied business gave the warning during interviews with The Hope.
They noted that non availability of naira notes has crippled a lot of farming activities, especially planting and warned that it can lead to food shortage because farmers are being hindered from preparing their land for farming season.
Those who spoke with The Hope include: Chairman of Agricultural Commodities Association OSACA, Mr Gbenga Obaweya, National Vice president of Poultry Association of Nigeria S/W zone, Mr Gideon Oluleye, State Chairman of Catfish farmers, Rotimi Olokuntuyi and the Senior Special Assistant to the Ondo State Governor on Agric and Agric business, Pastor Akin Olotu.
Olotu said there is nothing as life-threatening as hunger, poverty, starvation.
According to him, but the non availability of naira notes has crippled many agricultural activities, thus posing looming danger of impending food crisis this year.
“I have told people that there will be food crisis because farmers cannot access money, farmers cannot buy inputs they ought to have acquired before now, where is the money they will use to buy them?
“Farmers cannot prepare their lands, cannot transport labourers and themselves to farms. If this situation should continue for another two weeks, we would have lost substantial part of this planting season and we know the implications of this.
“This is a human flood occasioned by Emefiele’s policy which is more disastrous than the natural flood or any hazardous weather situation predicted because we can always put control measures, but the present situation is out of the control of farmers,” he noted.
He re-echoed the advocacy of Dr. Akinwumi Adesina on creation of micro finance bank to meet the needs of the rural farmers, women and those trading with between N10,000 to N50,000.
According to Olotu, this group constitutes 70 percent of the economically active people in the country and they are not bankable with commercial banks.
“How will they take N50,000 to commercial bank with unnecessary deductions like the COT, cash transfer, this and that charges, which is the problem most people are facing today and they have not been addressed.
He called for the immediate resignation of the CBN Governor, because he believes in policy that people adjudged as legally wrong.
Olotu lamented that besides farming, all others such as welders, bricklayers, carpenters, market women among others could no longer carry out their operations, even the beggars.
“Most projects are now suspended because labourers who are paid N2,000 have to cough out N600 or at times N800 at PoS points to collect such, meaning they can only go home with N1,200 after staying on queue for a very long time,” he stated.
Olotu said Emefiele’s logic can only be successfully if the country has what he called multi-level banking institutions because the present commercial banks cannot serve the interest of 70 percent of the economically active people of the country.
“It is not possible because this people are trading with less than N100,00. Bank deductions would have taken the larger part of the money if kept in the bank and such person will be out of business soons.
He observed that most people mentioned are doing contribution ‘Ajo’ which they rotate periodically.
He, however, commended Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu for doing the needful by putting on ground drainage system which curbed flooding and noted that the measure addressed last year’s prediction and no causality was recorded.
Chairman of Agricultural Commodities Association OSACA, Mr Gbenga Obaweya said the situation has caused disabilities to farmers because no cash for agricultural activities to transport laborers to farm, preparations and purchase of Agricultural Inputs.
Obaweya declared that food security is under threat because things are not working as they should.
” Those at the rural areas do not have access to cash and preparing for farming season is zero because everything has turned upside down,”
He called on individuals to create a strategy to survive because the situation has become a desperate one that needed to be addressed.
National Vice president of Poultry Association of Nigeria S/W zone, Mr Gideon Oluleye lamented bitterly, saying that poultry farmers are loosing a lot now.
According to Oluleye, they are forced to sell below the Economics of Production, EOP, since there is no cash to buy feed and do other transactions.
The state Chairman of Catfish farmers, Rotimi Olokuntuyi said the farmers have to sell at what he called bottom price which is below the cost price to avoid unnecessary loss after they reached maturity.
“We cannot access money for feed and those who have stock are experiencing mortality due to lack of feed.”
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