Daily Trust (Abuja)

5 December 2012

Nigeria: AfDB Lends Nation U.S.$650 Million for Agric Development

Africa Development Bank (AfDB) would be lending Nigeria a total sum of $650 to be made available to small and medium scale enterprises in the agriculture value chain, Country Program Officer of the bank's field office in Nigeria, Peter Sturheit said the bank would be giving two loans, $500 million to the bank of Industry (BoI) and $150 million to the Nigeria Export and Import bank (NEXIM).

But farmers who spoke to Daily Trust said they do not welcome such development because such loans do not get to them. Two Abuja based farmers, Markus Daniels and Haruna Mahadi said in separate interviews that agricultural loans have never been designed to favour farmers.

Markus said, "The agricultural loan we were asked to apply for under the YouWin program that Bwari area council officials told us is specifically designed to assist the youths in the area of farming turned out to be a joke. When we applied they asked us to go and bring certificate of ownership of a land in FCT before we could qualify for the loan. If I have a land, what will I do with their loan? Show me one single person that own a land in FCT with C of O that is still a poor man," he said.

Haruna said, "If government is serious about giving peasant farmers loan, let them come with the money and distribute to us through our traditional rulers. They know us and know our capability. All the documentation will be done there in the palace to ease the process. The money I spent in going from one office to the other applying for the failed YouWin loan is too much and I cannot afford to waste resources again," he said.

Speaking at a two-day Stakeholders' Workshop on AfDB assisted agriculture Value Chain Income Enhancement Program, Sturheit said the bank will also be supporting the value chain through the development of infrastructure especially feeder roads for easy transporting of produce to markets from point of production or processing centers.

"The Nigerian government has requested a line of credit to BoI and NEXIM Bank to be made available to small and medium scale enterprises under the agriculture value chains in addition to funding regional projects and othg to add value to the selected arable crops," the minister said.

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