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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

FG to establish N750bn agriculture fund


The Federal Government disclosed plans to establish a N750 billion agriculture fund in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The Minister of State for Agriculture, Mr. Heineken Lokpobiri, affirmed this at the 2016 national summit of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), with the theme: “The Role of Poultry Industry in the Economic Revival of Nigeria” stated that the Federal Government is committed to diversifying the economy away from oil and revive the agricultural sector to boost the economy.

According to him, access to credit is one of the biggest challenges farmers are facing which is why the government has made this move to revive the agricultural sector. In addition the federal government is also talking with Islamic Bank which has agreed to provide about $ 2.5 million which will be rooted through Bank of Agriculture and Commerce Bank and at a single digit rate to finance different agric programmes.

He also disclosed that talks are being held with the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) for funding in the same sector.

“The present administration is committed to make agriculture attractive by making funds accessible and affordable as no business can survive with high interest rate charged by commercial banks. Already, there exist some funding from CBN that even the poultry farmers can access at an affordable interest rate of nine per cent but the contention is that nine percent is too high. We are trying to make credit not only accessible but available and affordable,” Lokpobiriemphasised.

In addition, he also promised to use all means at his disposal to harmonize taxes on farms – “and that since poultry products are food items, they should not be taxed.”

Okoli Vincent/GEE

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