In Nigeria, agricultural microcredit for small farmers is relatively low. As such loans for small scale agriculture are often excluded from the mainstream of many microfinance institutions and microfinance products. Agricultural loans poses a greater risk to MFIs because of unpredictable harvest, seasonal client income, the high cost of transactions, the high cost of transportation, the little or no collateral and above all the zeal by MFIs to recoup loan investments in short term. The absence of small scale agricultural loans has impacted negatively on the agricultural productivity and expansion of smallholders.
Smallholders Microcredit are long term loans, with a lifespan of 1-18 months to smallholder farmers' cooperatives. Smallholders utilize the loans to access agricultural inputs necessary to increase their agricultural productivity, farm yield and household income. We target women as beneficiaries of the microcredit.
• Loan recipients are selected from their respective cooperative societies and receive a group endorsement of their ap plication before they receive the loan. Clients undergo an intensive 7 days business training to build their agricultural and business skills to enable them properly utilize the loans. Only clients who graduate from the capacity building training and perform satisfactorily are beneficiaries of the loan. Workshop involves lessons in appropriate crops cultivation, livestock rearing, accounting and banking skills, inventory control, and marketing of food produce, farm ex pansion and proper bookkeeping.
• After loan disbursement, clients continues to receive support in the areas of opening bank accounts, control of crop pests, treatment of livestock disease, soil and water management, drip and treadle pump irrigation systems, composting, diversification into off farm work investments, use of fertilizers and access to markets locally, nationally and internationally.