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Help Nigeria’s food security target by increasing agric funding, Ogbeh urges banks

To deepen Nigeria’s quest for food sufficiency, the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has called on Nigerian banks, to increase funding in agriculture with ease to credit for farmers.

While noting that lack of capital and research remains the key challenges to job creation and development in the sector, he stressed the need for banks to support the growth of the sector by lending on a single digit rate to farmers.

Globally, easy access to funding is a major facilitator to growth in agriculture as it empowers both new and old farmers to expand and deepen productivity for the interest of food security.

In his remarks at the recent maiden FirstBank Agric Expo, held in Lagos, Ogbeh said increased funding of the sector would empower farmers who seek funds to expand their businesses for increased yield.

The minister argued that “This economy can grow in other sections not only oil and gas. You can demystify the nursery of interest rate. The farmers have no collateral. We can find a way of making sure that your money is not lost through engaging in cooperatives. Farmers would not default on loans, and can restructure the loans”.

“Banks are afraid to invest on the sector due to fear of not recovering their money. Nigeria has less than 30,000 tractors most often are not functional. India has one million tractors. Lack of credit, research institutions are issues we must seriously tackle.”

Continuing, he said “We need to stabilise our food production, we need to sort it as fast as possible. The banks should help us out. We will make sure your monies are repaid when you loan by making sure the producers do not lose their products.”

In his submission, he hinted that “With an anticipated increase in Nigeria’s population, which he put at 500 million by the Year 2050, there was need for governments to engage the teeming youths in agriculture by establishing a skill acquisition centres across the country”.

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