Akeredolu urges FG to peg interest rate for farmers

Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has called on the Federal Government to urgently design and implement a financial policy to peg the interest rate for farmers and investors at single digits.

Akeredolu made the call at the opening ceremony of the 3rd Ondo State International Agric Show and Food Fair 2023 (OSIAFFA) held on Wednesday in Akure.

The programme was organised by the Ondo State Agricultural Commodities’ Association (OSACA).

The governor, who was represented by Secretary to the State government, Princess Oladunni Odu, appreciated President Bola Tinubu for his impact in the agriculture sector.

He said that the Federal Government should designed a programme that would assist farmers and investors in agricultural ventures with a long gestation.

According to him, the interest rate should remain a single digit as agribusiness is not a tea party.

“We know that the challenges facing Nigeria at this period is enormous.

“But we have at no time doubted President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s God-given ability to navigate the ship of the nation with required speed, direction and magnitude.

“This is inevitable, if we are to catalyse and support agricultural ventures like cocoa, oil palm, cashew, rubber, coffee, and shea butter, among others.

“We need an organised window to finance them as no commercial bank will be willing to offer farmer-friendly loans with a long tenor.

“So, we must look inward and revisit the agricultural sector as it has enormous potential for job creation for our army of unemployed youths,” Akeredolu said.

Akeredolu, therefore, applauded the investors and small holders for succeeding in charging the narrative of the oil palm value-chain in Nigeria.

He said that the palm oil sector was a plus to the nation’s economy, which would provide succour and strength for the naira and reduce the import bill.

Earlier, Mr Gbenga Obaweya, Chairman of OSACA, said that the programme was aimed to further harness the potential of agricultural commodities to drive economic and industrial revolution in the country.

Obaweya, therefore, called on governments of all levels to subsidise agric inputs to boost the sector and make agric produce and products affordable for the citizens.

“Our governments need to focus more on the agric sector and inject more funds with a view to enhancing the Gross Domestic Production (GDP) to stem the current economic challenges in the country.

“The Federal Government also need to beef up security in the country to check incessant attacks being faced by farmers.

“Bad rural roads, paucity of small, affordable haulage vehicles, less potent agrochemicals and policy somersault lengthen the list of the agropreneurs’ difficulties,” he said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Agric & Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, who was represented by Mr Akindeko Hakeem, state Coordinator, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, charged farmers to embrace organic farming.

Kyari said that the Federal government would continue to support farmers, stakeholders and cooperative societies for improved agriculture.

According to him, the importance of agriculture to economic and industrial development of any nation cannot be over-emphasised.

“I wish to inform you that Federal Government under the leadership of President Bola Tinubu, with his ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’, will continue to support farmers.

“I must reinstate here that Federal Government is already implementing the dry season farming. I will encourage our farmers for proper processing, packaging and storage of agricultural products.

“We must limit the use of inorganic chemical and embrace organic farming,” he said.

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