Zero-interest financing comes under Nigeria
To mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on Nigeria’s agriculture sector and boost food production, Nigeria will provide zero-ingterest financing to at least 2 million smallholder farmers across the country.
This was announced on Tuesday as part of the Nigerian Government’s Agric for Food and Jobs Plan, AfJP.
Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, told journalists at a press briefing in Abuja that the AfJP scheme would be a joint venture including the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Central Bank of Nigeria, private sector operators and farmers.
“This programme will be achieved through investment in the sector by way of providing zero-interest input financing options such as fertilisers and seeds to farmers across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory to produce harvests that could be sold domestically and internationally,” he stated.
Nanono said the zero-interest financing programme, which the ministry had perfected plans to inaugurate, would run for a duration of 12 months with an aggregate of two million hectares of land.
He explained that the zero-interest financing scheme would link farmers to markets for off-take through out-grower schemes and improve crop yields per hectare.
He said: “This will, in turn, ensure food security in the post-COVID-19 era and position smallholder farmers to be drivers of economic growth by evolving from subsistence farming to commercial production.
“The AFJP targets two million smallholder farmers across the 36 states of Nigeria and the FCT and aims to produce 10 million tonnes of food which include carbohydrates, animal protein and edible oils within the next 12 months.”
According to Nanono, priority crops and livestock targeted by the AFJP for local markets include rice, maize, sorghum, groundnuts, cowpea, cassava, and millet.
Others include horticulture, palm kernel and cotton, while sesame seeds, hibiscus, cocoa, hides and skin, horns and hoofs are targeted for export.