The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammdu Buhari on Agriculture, Dr Andrew Kwasari has said that the Agriculture for food and Jobs Initiative is targeting 140,000 as a pilot along 6 commodity value chains.
Dr Kwasari said the initiative is a loan package of N600 billion which was to be disbursed to smallholder farmers as a way to cushion the effects of COVID-19.
Address journalists recently in Abuja, the Buhari’s Aide said the loan was gotten from commercial banks who work with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at a reduced interest rate for farmers and less cumbersome for farmers to access it.
“It is the response from the federal government to cushion the impact of Covid-19 on smallholder farmers and on agriculture and it is a loan, a total package of about N600 billion over one year”, he said.
He explained that “government’s said to do this, we need to work with the commercial Banks and to get this loan from those Banks working with Central Bank. It is to agree that federal government needs to cushion the effect in two ways for the smallholder farmers, one, create easy access to loan and two, assist in reducing the interest, that means paying the interest on behalf of the farmers”.
He said the government also involved the private sectors whose main objective is to coordinate the farmers and ensure they get the loan, also, after harvest, the private sectors ensure that the produce gets to the supply chain.
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