The Federal Government on Tuesday said N5 billion loan facility has been provided at the Bank of Agriculture, BOA, for livestock farmers across the country.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, made this known at a news conference in Abuja.
Mr Abubakar said the moment has come for livestock farmers to enjoy the interventions crop farmers have been enjoying, hence the loan facility is for them to access at reasonable interest rates to expand their businesses and attract potential investors into the livestock value chain.
“This briefing today is specifically on livestock development in Nigeria.
“For the most part, the crop sector has always gotten more attention because it comes with food security.
“But nutrition security is the other nutrient that would complement the grains otherwise you will have a different kind of growth.
“We have been putting a lot more in crop, I think the time has come and again through this administration to look and balance with the livestock, and with the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) and Livestock Productivity Resilience and Support Plan.”
He said that these are the two programmes used by government to support livestock farming.
“We need the balance between the livestock farmers and crop farmers in order to have peace and justice.
“The Bank of Agriculture is specifically established to support farmers in all crops and livestock.
“This particular briefing is on a scheme to provide loans to farmers in this country.
“The Bank is being recapitalized and as the President usually walks his talks, we also try to emulate him. I have talked now I am walking my talk.
“Right now, there is N5 billion in the Bank of Agriculture as part of recapitalization that would be given out to livestock herders,” he said.
The minister said that as the BOA bank is being recapitalised, more money would be coming to the bank.
Abubakar urged the livestock farmers, associations and interested parties, to go through the BOA for all the requirements to be able to obtain the loans.
“This is also to make the public know that there is a scheme coming and I believe this will bring more stability to develop the livestock sector, improve security and harmonious existence between farmers and herders,” he said.
The Managing Director, Bank of Agriculture, Alwan Hassan, explained that the Federal Government
has recapitalised the Bank of Agriculture.
“We have received some funds and one of the mandates of the bank is financing the agricultural value chain completely.
“This livestock sector financing that we intend to start very soon was actually kick-started about three weeks ago, and we virtually registered close to 20,000 farmers in our branches nationwide.
“The bank has about 110 locations across the country and we advice the applicants to go to the nearest branch to register their names and obtain the application forms and go through the process.
“My advice to the participants is that this is a loan, it is a capital for the bank. So please let them pay back as at when due,” he said.
He said that the bank has a credit policy process, and applicants would be taken through that process and programme.
“We have started meeting with the associations. I appeal to the members if they pay back it would be recycled to other members,” he said.
On interest rate, he said that interest rate depended on the value chain interested parties would take.
“Our rates start from 9 per cent up to 15 per cent, depending on which value chain you are taking. That means it depends on the risk factor of the business you are going into.
“The modality in giving out the loan is going to be exactly as enshrined in the loan conditions.
“We have set rules for giving out loans which is governed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) regulations and also regulated by the bank and financial institutions body.
“So we are going to follow those modalities for lending in the livestock sector.
“Now, individuals that do not belong to any association are free to come to the bank and take the loans.
“In fact, we do not intend to give loans to the association, we are giving their members. All that the association us going to do is to introduce their members if they have them,” he said.
Hassan said that the loan would be given to individuals and to all Nigerians.
He also made it clear that there is the requirement of collateral for the loan as cover in order to get the money back.
Also, the National President, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, MACBAN, Baba Ngelzarma, expressed
delight for interventions for the livestock value chain.
He said it would be an added change in the way the livestock sector is managed by the pastoral communities.
“The world has moved in the way and manner the industry is managed even within the West African sub-region and Nigeria cannot be an exception,” he said.
Mr Ngelzarma, who assured that his members would repay the loans, appreciated the Minister and Managing Director of BOA.