Obasanjo urges banks to reduce interest rates for farmers

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Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has urged commercial banks to reduce their interest rates to enable farmers’ access loans for improved agricultural production.
He made this statement at the opening ceremony of the 2017 Niger State Investment Summit held at the Justice Idris Legbo-Kutigi Conference Centre, Minna, which had its theme as “Advancing Agricultural Economy through Innovation and Truly Niger.”
Obasanjo, stated that double digits interest rates in agriculture is one of the biggest obstacles affecting farmers.
According to him, “farmers are not able to pay banks after taking loans and at the same time still able to run their agriculture business successfully.”
He described agriculture as a renewable business that could create jobs and catapult the nation to economic prosperity.
“The paucity of funds and high-interest rates were part of factors responsible for the underdevelopment of the nation’s agricultural sector,” he said.
The former president, however, advised the Niger Government to take advantage of the arable land in the state to attract investors to embark on commercial farming. He also urged the state government to create employment and market through agriculture because of its proximity to Abuja.
“A state cannot develop in isolation, you have to work with other states and take advantage of economy of scale and identify areas that are profitable; then utilise them,” he added.
Also, he called on the Federal Government to develop infrastructures in the state to enable farmers to transport their farm produce to urban centres.
Moreover, the summit attracted experts, industrialists, manufacturers as well as governors across the country.
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