Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Federal Government said it is considering discussing with banks, especially the Nigeria Incenstive-based Risk-Sharing System for Agriculture Lending (NIRSAL), to help reduce the lending rate loans to farmers, preferably 5 per cent.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, disclosed this recently, in Abuja, at an interactive session with journalists.
This is even as the government praised the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the committee of bankers for slashing the interest rate from 25% to 9% to enable farmers have access to loans.
Ogbeh, however, called on farmers to repay their loans as soon as possible.
“We also urge all borrowers to strive to repay loans and we, in
the Federal Ministry of Agriculture will join hands to ensure that farmers repay loans granted them as there will be no more excuses big under these new conditions, our youths and women and small holders can now access credit to fulfill.”
He insisted that “borrowers are to adhere strictly to the terms and conditions of the loans and utilise funds for the purpose for which it was granted.
“Borrowers will be mandated to make the project and records available for inspection and verification by the CBN.”
On the employment of rangers, Ogbeh said the initiatial 5,000 employment target may not be realisable due to paucity of funds but government would employ at least 2,500 cattle rangers.
“We may not be able to employ 5, 000. We may probably deploy about 2, 5000 this year.
“The recruitment will begin when budget releases begin to happen and the army will have to train them.
“Because we need them to stop rustlers stealing herdsmen cattle and attacking major investors in agriculture,” he added.