Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, has expressed concern over the high interest rates charged on loans to farmers by commercial banks.
He spoke during a workshop in Abuja, saying that no farmer could survive the high interest rates demanded by Nigerian banks, adding that while most banks rarely lend to farmers, the few who do charge high interest rates that have affected growth in the agriculture sector.
Speaking further, he noted that most banks were not speaking the same language with the farmers, as regards agricultural funding.
Ogbeh, however, noted that the government was working hard to address the development, stressing that it was time the nation fed its citizens and reduced importation of food to the barest minimum.
“You cannot borrow in this country to fund agriculture yet they want us to do magic. Most of the banks insist that the lowest they can give is 25 per cent interest on their loans and no farmer can survive with that rate,” Ogbeh said.
Meanwhile, the International Fund for Agricultural Development has said that about 9.2 million out of the 14.2 million targeted Nigerians have benefitted from its development projects across the county in the last 30 years.
The agency said that over $317.6 million had been spent in financing 10 projects in Nigeria.
Ides de Willebois, Director, West and Central Africa Division, IFAD, disclosed this in Abuja at the presentation of findings by the Independent Office of Evaluation of the agency.
Willebois said the projects had improved the livelihood of the rural poor and strengthened their food production systems.
He said that the evaluation was carried out to assess the result and performance of the IFAD-government partnership in reducing rural poverty, and to generate findings and recommendations for future partnership between the agency and Nigeria.