BY YAHYA SARKI, Kebbi
The minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh has frowned at how banks charge between 25 to 35 percent interest on farmers seeking for loan saying that the policy does not help in the development of agricultural activities in Nigeria.
Ogbeh expressed his displeasure during the Federal Government and All Progressive Party Governor’s Forum parley on policy synergy at the Presidential Banquet Hall in Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State yesterday.
The Minister lamented that the interest rates being charged was high and the trend has been existing for over 30 years which is capable of discouraging farmers to borrow for the improvement their farms.
“One of the biggest problem we are facing is finance, the interest rate is high, how can farmers borrow , how can industrialists borrow, how can manufacturers borrow? . He added that the problem has to do with not only agriculture but industrial growth and hinder the economic growth noting that the interest rates today stands between 25 to 35 percent.
Ogbeh urged state governors to sit with CBN to address the issue of high interest rates as well as make effort to purchase machines to attract young people into farming.
The minister earlier announced that the federal government would establish 200 rice mills across the country especially in rural areas to boost rice in the country while commending the springing up of private rice mills in some states.
He, however, restated the decision of federal government to stop importation of rice by the end of this year with while appealing to state governors to continue to invest heavily in agriculture and even start exporting atleast two produce from their states.