Pay back your bank loans, that was what the Minister of Agriculture Audu Ogbeh told farmers owing commercial banks.

But this is because of the new agriculture lending rate that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN announced recently.

Before the announcement of the new agricultural lending rate of 9% cent by the CBN, the banks provided funds to farmers at 25 to 30% interest rate, a development that made it difficult for farmers to access loans for agriculture.

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Ogbeh said the old lending rate to agriculture had stifled many businesses in the agricultural value chain but noted that the new rate would impact positively on the sector.

He also said the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, FMARD would partner the CBN, banks and farmers’ cooperatives to ensure that Nigerian farmers comply with the conditions put in place to access loans at the current rate, adding that those who borrowed must repay.

Ogbeh said: “We want to urge borrowers especially farmers and industrialists to ensure that whatever they borrow, they repay because banks are not charity organisations.

“We in the FMARD will join hands with the banks and the CBN to play a major role in making sure that whatever farmers borrow, they repay.”

He added: “This is especially as we intend to use the cooperatives to move agricultural credit to the most vulnerable segments of our population, mainly the women and the youths.

“We believe that under these conditions, our youths, women, big and small-scale farmers can now have access to credit to fulfil their dream and drive Nigeria towards self-sufficiency in food production.”

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