BusinessDay

CBN to assist Onion farmers with loans to boost productions

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it would assist Onion farmers in the North Central States of the country with soft loans to boost the production of the commodity to meet national demands.

Tasha Jonathan, the representative of the CBN in Nasarawa state, disclosed this during the inauguration of the North Central Zone of the Nigeria Onion Producers, Processing, Dealers and Marketing Association (NOPPDM) in Lafia.

He urged the beneficiaries to ensure that they refund the loans to enable others’ benefits.

Jonathan further explained that the CBN is ready to assist Onion farmers with herbicides, insecticides, and other farm inputs that could assist them to produce more for the use of the teaming population of the country.

On his part, Aliyu Maitasamu Isah, president, National Onion Producers, Processors, and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NOPPMAN), said Nigeria needs about 2.5 million metric tonnes of onions yearly to meet the national demand of the commodity.

Isah called for increased production of onions to address the deficit of 1.1 million metric tonnes.

The NOPPMAN president said that the 1.4 million metric tonnes of onions currently being produced in the country annually were not enough to meet the demands of Nigerians, hence the call for increased production to meet the 2.5 metric tonnes required for local consumption.

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The president, however, explained that government support would be needed to achieve the target and to enable the massive exportation of the commodity to countries like India, which, he said, had a high demand for it.

“The challenges we are facing is as a result of lack of good storage facilities, among other challenges.

“If the government can intervene to assist farmers to access inputs and facilities for production, of while also helping them to improve on their storage facilities, then we will be able to meet the demands.

“We are producing 1.4 metric tonnes, but what we need is 2.5 metric tonnes. Apart from that, we are still exporting.

“So, we need support and empowerment from the government because we need to step up our production to meet the demands,” he said.

Isah further explained that the association chose Nasarawa state for the inauguration, because of the efforts made by the Governor Abdullahi Sule-led administration in terms of security, as well as the state being the second-largest producer of onions in the North Central zone, after Plateau state.

Also commenting, the Emir of Lafia, Sidi Bage, lauded the association for holding the event in the state and for also being willing to educate farmers in the state on the right techniques in onion production.

He called on farmers to take the advantage of the knowledge shared with them to increase their production capacity.

“Nasarawa state was specifically chosen as a new destination for the production of onions, because of security challenges bedevilling traditional places known for the production of onions such as the North West and North East zones of the country.

“So, with their coming here for this event and to share knowledge on onions, the gate is now open for us in Nasarawa state and we must take advantage of it because they are bringing in the techniques and training to farmers.

“The advantages of this development are enormous. It will boost economic activities. It will also open us up to having more people coming in here to do business. The advantages are too enormous to mention,” he said.

Executives of the Association from the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nasarawa, Niger, Kogi, Plateau, and Benue states were inaugurated at the event in Lafia.

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