BUSI­NESS FEC ap­proves N23bn ADB loan for agric

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Isi­aka Wak­ili

The Federal Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil (FEC) has ap­proved $152m loan (about N23 bil­lion) granted by the African De­vel­op­ment Bank (ADB) for the de­vel­op­ment of agri­cul­ture in Nigeria.

The Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment, Ak­in­wumi Adesina, dis­closed this to State House cor­re­spon­dents yes­ter­day af­ter the FEC meet­ing chaired by Pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathan.

The min­is­ter noted that the loan at­tracted 1.5 per cent in­ter­est rate and was re­payable in 22 years.

He said the loan would be utilised to pro­vide ru­ral ar­eas with such phys­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture as roads, ir­ri­ga­tion and por­ta­ble wa­ter as well as so­cial in­fra­struc­ture like elec­tric­ity, san­i­ta­tion and health­care. The loan, he added, would also be used for agro-pro­cess­ing de­vel­op­ment, value ad­di­tion, mar­ket in­for­ma­tion sys­tem for farm­ers in those ar­eas, ex­pan­sion of ac­cess to fi­nan­cial ser­vice and crops in­sur­ance. Adesina listed Anam­bra, Enugu, Ji­gawa, Kano, Kebbi, Niger and Sokoto as stated t ben­e­fit from the loan which, he said, would be used to de­velop sta­ple crop pro­cess­ing zones across the coun­try.

The min­is­ter said six of the 14 mas­ter plans de­vel­oped for the sta­ple cross pro­cess­ing zones na­tion­wide had been com­pleted.

Ac­cord­ing to him, the pro­cess­ing zones cover com­modi­ties like rice, cas­sava, cot­ton, sorghum, aqua cul­ture, live­stocks and other pro­duc­tion.

He said 120, 000 jobs, in­clud­ing jobs for 36,000 women, would be cre­ated in the sta­ple crop pro­cess­ing zones.

The min­is­ter also dis­closed that this would add 20 mil­lion met­ric tones of food to the na­tion’s food pro­duc­tion.

The zones to be fo­cussed on, he said, were Adani-Omo in Ebonyi and Enugu States for rice and cas­sava; the Bida and Badegi for rice; Kano and Ji­gawa for rice tomato and shorghum; Kebbi and Sokoto for rice and sorghum.

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