The Honourable Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbe, has said that, for Nigeria to survive as a nation, banks must support farmers through agriculture financing with single digit interest loans, warning of a possible catastrophic disaster in the near future if the nation fails to achieve food sufficiency and security.
Audu Ogbe stated this yesterday at the First Bank of Nigeria agriculture expo tagged: Reinventing Agriculture for Sustainable National Development, at Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos.
While thanking First Bank of Nigeria Plc for the courage so far demonstrated to support agriculture, Ogbe stressed that innovative agriculture financing is key to agric revitalization in Nigeria, warning that the greatest threat to Nigeria is having too many graduates with great ideas to contribute to food production but without being able to access finance to do the business of farming roaming the streets.
His words: “I must commend and thank First Bank for this bold initiative and courage so far displayed in supporting agriculture, because innovative agriculture financing is key to agric revitalization. Nigeria is the only country in the world where agric loan interest is higher than 5%. This is very unhealthy.
The greatest threat to Nigeria is having too many graduates roaming the streets with great ideas to contribute to food production but without being able to access finance to do the business of farming. So, banks must find innovative ways of lending to farmers either through co-operatives, cluster farmers or traditional heads, since these can guaranty recovery of bad loans”.