This May to September planting season could mark the beginning of a period of significant agricultural growth in parts of Anambra state after farmers were able to access affordable loans for the first time, with support from the V2P project.

Affordable loans could bring farming boom JDPC Onitsha has supported the Ayamelum Community Empowerment Network (COMEN) to effectively lobby the government so farmers can get affordable loans for agriculture. There were similar initiatives in the Omambala region of Anambra East, Anambra West and Oyi LGAs.

Affordable loans have previously been hard to come by for farmers in these areas, where rice is the main crop, adding to the difficulties in generating an adequate yield. It had been difficult for farmers to obtain loans even from the state-funded agricultural loan programme for cooperative societies, and there was little information on alternative loan facilities.

Members of Ayamelum COMEN wrote to the director of the Agricultural Development Programme (ADP), and sent letters and made advocacy visits to the heads of the agriculture and planning departments of Ayamelum local government.

‘The result of these efforts is that the approval for the loan requests to two groups of farmers has been granted,’ explains Michael Odiatu, chair of Ayamelum COMEN. ‘The actual loans will be given during the next planting season between May and September.’

The group also used V2P’s radio programme to make the public more aware of the challenges they face as farmers.

Improved conditions V2P partner Civil Rights Concern (CRC) is also bridging the gap between farmers and the Anambra Ministry of Agriculture. Its quarterly interface meetings have been held since the commissioner made a commitment to improved working conditions for farmers in the state.

These meetings with the ministry have led to an increase in the formation of farmers’ cooperatives that enable smallholders working together to access government agricultural programmes. The issue of non-registration of many farmers has also been addressed and a Committee of Stakeholders for Agriculture has been established.

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