Audu Ogbeh Minister says CBN has agreed to 5% agric. lending rate

The workshop was organised by the National Agricultural Foundation of Nigeria (NAFN) in collaboration with the ministry and All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN).

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Audu Ogbeh

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The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had agreed to five per cent interest on lending rate to farmers in the country.

Ogbeh made this known on Tuesday, while delivering a keynote address at the opening of a two-day national workshop on a "New Agricultural Policy for Nigeria.’’

The workshop was organised by the National Agricultural Foundation of Nigeria (NAFN) in collaboration with the ministry and All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN).

According to the minister, the agreement followed discussions with key officials of the apex bank on Tuesday morning.

"Just this morning, I have talks with key officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria to bring the lending rate to five per cent.

"How they do it, how the finance institutions want to cope with it, they have to or we impose severe penalty on anyone who defaults, otherwise we will not survive.

"There is no country on earth in or outside Africa, where banks demand 25, 18 or even nine per cent interest rate for agriculture borrowing.

"With those rates, I assure you as man, who have been in this business - agriculture since the age of seven years, you cannot make profit in agriculture,’’ Ogbeh said.

The minister said that agriculture and solid minerals remain the alternatives sectors to which the country could diversify now to survive current economic situation.

He said: "The challenge before us is how to make this happen. The time for lamentation is over. The time for action is here.’’

Ogbeh said unless this was done, the problem of youth unemployment and youth restiveness would continue to plague the country.

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