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Banks 25% interest rate good for producing ‘cocaine’, but not for farmers—Ogbeh

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh Thursday decried that the high interest rate charged on loans by commercial banks remains major setback for both old and new farmers in the country.

Delivering a keynote address at the maiden edition of the Nigeria Food and Safety Investment Forum held at the Eko Hotels and Suites, the Minister said “Interest rate in agriculture across the globe averages three per cent, here it still stands at 25 per cent and above”.

“That kind of interest rate may be good for producing cocaine but certainly not for producing Okra, rice and beans, yam and cassava.

According to him, high interest rate from banks remained the bane of financing of agriculture and the development of good agricultural practices.

He argued that a situation where commercial banks request for as much as 25 per cent interest on agricultural loans was capable of crippling the government’s policy of economic diversification through agriculture.

“We still have trouble finding lenders to farmers; the banking sector still considers agriculture a zone of high danger. So the small farmer or big farmer has immense difficulties accessing credit.

“And so the farmer in Nigeria finds it extremely difficult to farm like other Nigerians do elsewhere So we can do it right, and if we can get it right trouble starts from the farm gate,” the Minister noted.

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