NULGE advises LG Employees against Indiscriminate Agric Loans
Rebecca Mu’azu, Yola
The Ganye Chapter of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, Adamawa State, has advised farmers in Ganye Local Government Area against the current trend of agric loans offered by various groups during both rainy and dry season farming.
The Secretary of the union, Mr. Linus Amos, told Voice of Nigeria in Ganye, that he was concerned about the effect of loan recovery on the civil servants, especially this year, following the effect of climate change on crop yield.
Amos said the period of dryness witnessed by most farmers in the area had caused farmers to have very low yield this year, making it impossible for civil servants to pay back loans and still have something left for them to fall back to.
He said loan collection by his fellow civil servants in Ganye LGA had become indiscriminate because most of them do not weigh the consequences before taking the loans and end up with nothing at the end of the day.
Amos said the challenges were in the repayment, especially when it was not in cash, but with farm produce, which unfortunately this year, had become very difficult and challenging.
The Ganye NULGE Secretary said he has been going round some courts of law in town and had seen many trucks parked in front of them, in anticipation of loan collection in bags of rice, by organizations such as the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN, and the North-East Commodity Association, NECAS, among others.
“If a household can remit all of the little he harvested, what will he depend on before the next season?” he asked.
He is worried that apart from the loans collected through government platforms and other organizations, civil servants collect money from individuals in exchange for bags of farm produce, which had now been affected by climate change.
“This year, since the beginning of the season, we experienced such rainfall that we have never experienced before. Based on this, the expected yield or output that farmers used to get in Ganye Local Government is no longer so. There was a period of dryness and damage on most farms, we then experienced a rainfall that exceeded the normal rainy season, which lasted up to November this year,” Amos said.
He said the repayment of loan was going to be very difficult and would have dire consequences on civil servants, because of the low yield, which left some farmers getting just about a quarter of the past bumper harvests in previous years.
Some farmers had experienced theft on their farm, where farm products are complete or partly stolen from the farms before they could harvest them, while the effect of climate change had left some farmers with nothing.
He attributed the low yield to the effect of a period of dryness, right from the onset of the rains this year, which was part of the effect of climate change that experts had been enlightening farmers on.
However, most people especially farmers, did not follow or get weather predictions for a year before planting or preparing their lands for the rainy season.
The NULGE Secretary is therefore calling on his fellow civil servants to take the issue of climate change seriously, by studying predictions, which are annually issued by the Nigeria Meteorological Agency, NIMET, every year, so that they would know when to start planting.
He said the times had changed and the rain pattern was no longer what it used to be.
“Let farmers follow the climate. Let them not depend on the normal rainfall that our forefathers used to experience in this land,” Amos said.
He believed that next year would be challenging for families to feed, therefore pleading with governments at all levels to help civil servants, with palliatives to avoid low productivity in the workplace, while calling for the enactment of laws that would ensure loan recoveries are done in instalments so as make things easy for the farmer.
Investigation of applications
Amos said thorough investigations should be conducted on loan applicants before they would be given the loan, so as to avoid leaving the farmer in huge debts, especially civil servants, who end up with nothing in their accounts after salaries were paid.
“During interviews for the loan, some tell lies by showing lands that do not belong to them for the team to measure and get the actual hectare expected by the farmer before he/she is given the loan. So, I am advising the government to stop giving out the loans anyhow to the farmers,” he said.