The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh and Gov. Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State on Tuesday appealed to banks to grant loan to farmers at affordable interest rate.
Ogbeh and Ambode made the appeal in Lagos at the First Bank Agric Expo tagged: “Reinventing Agriculture for Sustainable national Development”.
Ogbeh said that such loan should be given at a lower interest rate of less than five per cent with the repayment plan of more than 12 months.
According to him, a long term repayment plan will give farmers the opportunity to pay back with ease.
“In India, the interest on agriculture loan is three per cent, in Western Europe, it is 3.5 per cent, while in Japan it is 2.5 per cent.
“Nigeria is the only country that its interest rate on agriculture loan is more than five per cent.
“Financial institutions should come together and demystify the mystery behind the high interest rate in Nigeria in the interest of farmers,” he said.
According to him, a loan of 18 per cent interest rate to farmer is not a loan, because it will not favour the farmers’ repayment bid.
Also, Ambode said the state government had put in place policies that would drive agricultural growth, and called for “unreserved support of banks and the private sector’’.
The governor, represented by Mr Toyin Suarau, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, said that financial institutions should make loan available to farmers at concessionary rate.
“The challenge before us, both the public and the private sector, is to resuscitate the agriculture sector through policies and efforts that will improve productivity.
“The government must design and implement policies that will encourage massive private investment in the sector.
“Financial institutions have a duty to support these efforts by making loan available to farmers at concessionary rates,” Ambode said.
He said that the policy objective of the state government was to promote food security for Lagosians and Nigerians.
Ambode said that the programmes were aimed at enhancing farm outputs through the provision of agricultural inputs, sustainable extension services, rehabilitation of existing farm estates and settlements.
`A major initiative of this administration is the collaboration with Kebbi State, which is yielding the desired results.
“We are fully committed to this collaboration and open to new ideas.
“The government also needs partnerships in exploring the abundant opportunities in the agricultural value chains,” he said.
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