The Federal Government of Nigeria through the Debt Management Office of the Federal Ministry of Finance recently issued sovereign guarantees to banks, securing up to 70 percent of the principal of loans granted by banks to agro dealers in Nigeria’s agricultural sector.
Participating banks include Access Bank, Diamond Bank, First Bank, GT Bank, Oceanic Bank, Ecobank Nigeria, Stanbic IBTC, Sterling Bank, UBA, Union Bank and Zenith Bank.
According to Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala the Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy and Minster of Finance : “This shows that when we say we will deliver, we are serious. This innovative plan will get seeds and fertilizer into the hands of farmers directly and help boost food production. Nigerians will see the results where it matters – in their pockets and on their dining tables…”
Akinwunmi Adesina, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, noted that “Nigerian farmers will now begin to feel and reap the benefits of our policies. Seeds and fertilizer will now reach every nook and corner of the country”.
According to Adesina: “We are doing business differently. For the first time in the history of our country, we succeeded in getting banks to lend to seed and fertilizer companies and agro-dealers to supply agricultural inputs directly to farmers, instead of government using its funds to do direct procurement and distribution. The Federal Government’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda will empower Nigerian farmers, accelerate food production, create millions of jobs as well as result in huge savings in foreign exchange being spent on importing food”