The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has oftentimes rejected farmers’ plea to access loans owing to the non-possession of Certificates of Occupancy (Cs-of-O) by farmers.
This was according to the newly-inducted President of the Abeokuta Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ABEOCCIMA), Mr. Jare Oyesola.
The president made this observation at the 44th Annual General Meeting which saw the inauguration of the new Executive members of the Chamber in Abeokuta, Ogun state.
In Oyesola’s remarks, farmers in the state were denied access to credit facilities for their lack of Certificates of Occupancy to process loans. “The challenge we have with agriculture is land”, Oyesola said. Against this backdrop, the ABEOCCIMA Head called for the devolution of powers to the Local Government administrations, for the issuance of the Certificates for agricultural purposes.
He said the current Land Use Act in the state permitted only the State Government to issue the Cs-of-O.
This, according to him, was responsible for not only the inability to access loans but the decrease in the level of agricultural production in the state. “It is easier to get land in the North than in the South-West. What I am advocating is that just like the land use decree of 1978 has stated, local governments should be able to give land for agricultural development.
“We know one another in our local government areas, we know the cooperatives in our local government areas; allow local governments to be able to give us Cs-of-O. “From my experience, the Central Bank of Nigeria and international companies recognise a Cs-of-O issued by a local government and they will give farmers loan because it shows the evidence that they are authorised to till that land,” he explained.
Oyesola also backed his claims by stating that the CBN in Abeokuta had said that its disbursement of funds to farmers was stalled by the lack of possession of the certificates.
Alongside the Chairperson of the ABEOCCIMA Board of Trustees, Mrs. Alaba Lawson, they both called for a turnaround to the situation to promote agriculture in the country. On her part, Alaba said the massive investment in the sector will be the way out of the economic crisis Nigeria has plunged into as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.