February 7, 2023.
Some agriculture stakeholders have lamented the crippling impact of Naira scarcity on the sector.
The stakeholders spoke with Naija247news in separate interviews on Tuesday in Lagos.
Mr Ismail Olawale, a fellow at the National Agriculture Extension and Research Liaison Services (NEARLS), said the scarcity of the Naira had kept local farmers at a disadvantage.
“The average Nigerian farmer resides in the rural areas and about 60 per cent of the rural areas have no bank facilities.
“What is mainly available for them are the PoS centers and other mobile apps that are not actually well regulated. These are not reliable banking systems.
“Sometimes, these PoS operators are mischievous and use the current Naira scarcity to cheat these farmers.
“They make the exchange miserable for these farmers. The situation exposes farmers to counterfeit and fake money which makes farmers run at a loss,” Olawale said.
According to him, these farmers are desperate to have cash to transport their produce before they perish, hence falling victim to these unscrupulous mobile money operators.
“There are information out there, transporters are not ready to accept the old Naira notes, whereas the new notes are scarce.
“This has grossly affected the movement of farmers and their produces from one point to another thereby crippling agriculture activities,” he said.
On his part, Mr John Nwabueze, a foodstuffs trader, lamented low sales because of the unavailability of cash flows.
According to him, the Naira scarcity has really affected sales of foodstuff, reducing the number of people that come to the market.
A development, he attributed to the limited cash flow.
“Since the customers do not have cash to buy what they need, they only buy what they can afford.
“Sometimes, they cannot transfers because the mobile bank apps have been epileptic in their services.
“We cannot release the produces until we confirm the alerts as the trend of fake alerts is on the increase. This restricted cash flow has really slowed down agricultural activities and even the sales.
“Most of the farmers that buy these produces from up north, do not believe in electronic banking. So, therefore, they do not send their produces until they get the physical cash.
“The dearth of customers has been a trend we have observed for a week and it has intensified over the weekend.
“All we ask is that things go back to normal, cash flow should be released, either the old notes or the new notes. Let us just have it available,” Nwabueze said.
Mr Akin Jimoh, a meat seller, said that the scarcity had reduced the profitability of the trade and hindered customers’ access to buying the produce.
“The limited cash flow has really impacted our sales. Presently, we cannot sell without the cash. This is because we have not been able to access all payments made via mobile transfers over the weekend.
“At the abattoirs, they do not believe in transfers, you pay the cash for the meat before you are attended to.
“We need help, this situation has really crippled sales and we do not know how long we can carry on like this,” Jimoh said. (www.naija247news.com).