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The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has recently said that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has agreed to five per cent interest on lending rate to farmers in the country.
Ogbeh stated this, while delivering a keynote address at the opening of a two-day national workshop on a “New Agricultural Policy for Nigeria.” According to the minister, the agreement followed discussions with key officials of the apex bank on Tuesday morning.
“There is no country on earth in or outside Africa, where banks demand 25, 18 or even nine per cent interest rate for agriculture borrowing. With those rates, I assure you as a man who has been in this business – agriculture since the age of seven years, you cannot make profit in agriculture. How they do it, how the finance institutions want to cope with it? They have to or we impose severe penalty on anyone who defaults, otherwise we will not survive. ” Ogbeh said.
The minister said that agriculture and solid minerals remain the alternatives sectors to which the country could diversify now to survive current economic situation, while noting that unless this was done, the problem of youth unemployment and youth restiveness would continue to plague the country.
Earlier, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, suggested the creation of a forum where farmers and the ministry could regularly dialogue in formulating agriculture rebirth policies.
Adamu, said this was necessary as farmers were the one to really implement agriculture policies. He said they needed to be brought on board for proper education on policy objectives and direction.
He also suggested that there should be clear policy on the procurement and sale of fertilizers at the right time during farming season.
The workshop was organised by the National Agricultural Foundation of Nigeria (NAFN) in collaboration with the ministry and All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN)

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