The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh on Thursday in Abuja, said plans were on the way to peg interest rate for agricultural lending at five per cent. Ogbeh, who said this while addressing a news conference, noted that when the interest rate is guaranteed, farmers would have to source for farm inputs on their own.
The minister said the cost of the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme was much and the revenue of the country had become so low hence, government can no longer sustain the scheme. “We are working towards reducing interest rate to about five per cent in agriculture; we want to develop an agric fund to a level in partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“Once we do, farmers will have to find farm inputs on their own; we cannot afford the GES at this cost. “Many of the states said their resources are so low and they cannot afford the luxury of paying for subsidy on farm inputs for farmers. “The areas we are paying is out of sympathy and a sense of responsibility for the agro dealers, since they are owed the money, we are looking for money at the federal level to pay the liability of the states.
“The cost of the GES is much and the finances of the country as so lean now that it a luxury we many not continue with,’’ he said. The GES scheme is a flagship programme of the Federal Government through which registered farmers have access to farm inputs like fertilisers, seeds and agro chemicals at subsidised rate via e-wallet.