World Bank Approves 76 Billion Naira Loan For Nigerian Farmers
Nigerian farmers can look forward to a busy year.
The World Bank said on Friday that it has approved a $200 million, about 76 billion Naira loan, to support the government's effort to boost small and mid-scale farmers.
The loan from the International Development Association, the bank's low-interest arm, will be paid back in 25 years with a grace period of additional five years.
"Priority value chains, will include products with potential for immediate improvement of food security, products with a potential for export and foreign currency earnings," the bank said in a statement.
The bank said the money will help to tackle low yields, lack of seed capital to set up agro-factories, low-level adoption of technology and limited access to markets.
Nigeria spends $20 billion a year importing food. With the fall in oil prices, it has been running short of dollars, which has also weakened the local currency.
Earlier this month, the government unveiled a recovery plans which included currency reforms to boost tax revenues.
It aims to achieve self-sufficiency in rice by 2018 and in wheat by 2019 or 2020. By 2020, it also hopes to be a net exporter of rice, cashew nuts, groundnuts, cassava and vegetable oil, some of the crops the World Bank loan is meant to finance.
But it also needs to tackle its poor transport network.
The bank said about 60,000 individuals will benefit directly from the funding, of which 35% are women. About 300,000 farming households will be affected indirectly.