The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has attributed the non-productivity of Nigerian farmers to high interest rate from banks which has crippled financing of agriculture and the development of good agricultural practices.
Speaking at the maiden edition of the Nigeria Food and Safety Investment Forum held at the Eko Hotels and Suites in Lagos, Ogbe mentioned that banks’ 25 per cent interest on agricultural loans was capable of crippling the government’s policy of economic diversification through agriculture, NAN reports.
“We still have trouble finding lenders to farmers; the banking sector still considers agriculture a zone of high danger.
“So the small farmer or big farmer has immense difficulties accessing credit.
“And so the farmer in Nigeria finds it extremely difficult to farm like other Nigerians do elsewhere.
“Interest rate in agriculture across the globe average three per cent, here it still stands at 25 per cent and above.
“That kind of interest rate may be good for producing cocaine but certainly not for producing Okra, rice and beans, yam and cassava.
“So we can do it right, and if we can get it right trouble starts from the farm gate,’’ he said.
The event was funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, in partnership with the Nigerian Government.