Ogbeh Laments High Interest Rate for Farmer, Eyes BOA Reform

Audu Ogbeh

James Emejo in Abuja

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, wednesday expressed disappointment over what he described as high interest rate on loan facilities for farmers in the country.

Speaking during the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Nigerian Agricultural Mechanisation and Equipment Leasing Company (NAMEL) , Tractor Owners and Operators Association of Nigeria (TOOAN) as well as the Tractor Owners and Hiring Facilities Association of Nigeria (TOHFAN), under the Private Sector Driven Mechanisation Programme (PSDMP), he noted the high rates had proven to be unfriendly to agricultiral production and a major discouragement to farmers.

But, he assured that the ongoing reforms in the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) would soon be completed to allow Nigerian farmers enjoy low interest rate on loans and become shareholders in the bank. The Minister described the project as a good innovation which should not be allowed to die.

He added that one of the policy thrusts of President Buhari’s administration was to leverage agriculture to bring life into the rural areas.

He said:“The Memorandum of Understanding that we are signing today is one of the greatest innovation in Agricultural Sector because government cannot manage tractors, with the experience of so many years the tractors never last, they were supposed to last for 15 years but due to poor handling they only last for two or three years.”

Ogbeh said government had no capacity to manage tractors, bur commended NAME and other stakeholders for their support and expressed the Federal government’s commitment to give the service providers necessary support to grow and provide quality services for farmers.

However, Chief Executive NAMEL, Dr. Ahmed Adekunle noted that the partnership between it and the Mechanisation Service Providers (MSP) would not only provide equipment to farmers but also build local capacity to operate, maintain and maximize their uses ; he promised that the partners would remain committed and change the narrative of mechanization in the country.

He said NAMEL in collaboration with Heavy duty Equipment Giant Mantrac would soon launch a nationwide Integrated Agricultural Land Development Scheme (INALDs) to open more lands on a flexible payment term.