Large scale farmers in the country can start to heave a sigh of relief as the FG, through the CBN has, concluded plans to provide single digit interest loans to them as part of the Government’s efforts at revitalizing the agricultural sector. This piece of information was announced by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo during his inaugural speech at ‘The Green Alternative: Agricultural Promotion Policy 2016-2020’
During his speech, Osinbajo identified the problems that previous governments had failed to deal with, and which eventually led to the current economic crisis the country was facing. Among the problems he identified was lack of focus and capacity to carry out well-structured policies, lack of alignment between policies, neglect of the agricultural sector and over-dependence on crude oil earnings.
He stressed that this administration is working assiduously to ensure that such mistakes were not repeated. For example, he noted that in alignment with the APP, the FG had through the Minister of Finance, concluded plans to capitalize and re-engineer the Bank of Agriculture to provide loans to farmers at single interest rates by the end of this quarter.
In addition, to improve the capacity and manpower available in the agricultural sector, the Vice President stated that 100,000 persons from the 500,000 currently being recruited by the FG’s N-Power Scheme will be trained as agricultural extension workers.
These strategies, the Vice President noted, these strategies are in line with the resolve of this administration to reduce to the barest minimum importation of food products. They would rather ensure food security in the country, and also enable the country export agricultural commodities to outside countries, thus boosting Nigeria’s economy.
While delivering the keynote address, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, explained the strategies outlined by the APP, stating that the target was to stop the over $22 billion Naira spent by Nigerians on importing food but rather double the agricultural household income within 6 to 12 years.
News Team/Leadership Newspapers/Punch Newspapers