The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, at the inauguration of the Executive Leadership of the Nigerian Agric-business Group in Abuja on Monday stated that the FG and German Development Bank have established $100m for agricultural financing in Nigeria.
Adesina stated that an independent survey of 75 leading agricultural businesses, which was conducted in 2013, showed that the enterprises were facing serious challenges. These, he said, included infrastructure, financing, supply, security, government regulations, taxation and policies.
The minister explained that the ministry was addressing the first four challenges through the establishment of staple crop processing zones. The staple crop processing zone at Alape, Kogi State, would become a centre of excellence in processing cassava fresh roots into starch and sweeteners. He added that the staple crop processing zones are expected to add an additional N1.4tn to the GDP of Nigeria and they will help to create 250,000 jobs across the country.
Cargill, the world’s number one food company, will be investing N33bn ($200m) to set up cassava-to-starch and cassava-to-sweetener manufacturing plants.”
Speaking on the issue of financing, Adesina said the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the German Development Bank and the Federal Ministry of Finance have established the Fund for Agricultural Financing, a private equity and quasi-equity and debt fund, which will deploy $100m in long term finance to agric-businesses.
He added that the President Goodluck Jonathan administration had ended four decades of fertiliser corruption in the country. According to him, the private sector now sells farm inputs to farmers instead to the government.
He said, to cut out the middlemen, who for decades have cheated farmers, we introduced an electronic wallet system. The system allows smallholder farmers to receive subsidised electronic vouchers for seeds and fertilisers directly on their mobile phones. Farmers use their electronic vouchers to pay for farm inputs from private sector agricultural input dealers.