Access Bank Plc has partnered the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to roll out a loan scheme for poor farmers aged 18 years to 55 years and other vulnerable groups.
The bank’s Group Head, Emerging Businesses, Mr Ayodele Olojede, said this in a statement on Thursday in Lagos.
Olojede said the initiative tagged the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP 2.0) would be implemented across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
The GEEP 2.0 is a loan scheme designed by the Federal Government to provide financial inclusion and give credit access to poor and vulnerable individuals, including persons with disability.
The government designed the scheme for persons at the bottom of the economic pyramid who are engaged in small scale commercial activities under its three flagship schemes: FarmerMoni, MarketMoni and TraderMoni.
According to the Olojede, FarmerMoni is for Nigerian farmers aged between 18 to 55 years in rural areas that operate in the agricultural space.
“They are provided with loans of up to N300,000 for gainful agricultural production and value addition activities. This scheme has 12 months including three months moratorium and nine months repayment period.
“Tradermoni targets uplifting under-privileged and marginalised youths aged between 18 to 40 years in Nigeria by providing them with loans of N50,000 while MarketMoni targets under-privileged and marginalised women aged between 18 to 55 years, including widows and divorcees.
“They get non-interest loans of N50,000 payable within six to nine months,” he said.
Olojede noted that the bank remains committed to the growth and development of the Micro, Small and Medium- Scale enterprises (MSMEs) to boost the country Gross Domestic Product anf employment.
“Our partnership with the Federal Government to roll out GEEP 2.0 in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory is part of our commitment to address the primary factor small business owners face.
“In rolling out the programme GEEP 2.0 loans, special accounts will be opened for all beneficiaries for the disbursement of the loan.
“All beneficiaries are expected to complete physical enumeration at their various local government and an account opening form of Access Bank prior to disbursement,” Olojede said.
He added that all qualified beneficiaries would receive their disbursement alerts after full enumeration.
5m Nigerians benefit from FG/IFAD programmes – Minister
The Federal Government says over five million smallholder farmers have benefitted from the IFAD supported agricultural programmes in the country.
The programmes were funded by the Federal Government and International Fund for Agricultural Development (FG/IFAD).
They include Value Chain Development Programme; Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises in Niger Delta; Climate Adaptation and Agribusiness Support Programme; and Rural Finance Institution-Building Programme.
The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari, made this known in Abuja on Tuesday at the National Launch of the Value Chain North (VCN) Project Design Mission, being funded by the FG, IFAD and French Development Agency (AFD).
Kyari expressed delight that the programmes generated positive impacts in spite of challenges such as COVID-19 pandemic, drought, flood, among others.
The minister, represented by Mr Musa Bukar, Director Programme Coordinating Unit in the ministry, said the VCN is an intervention that would contribute to sustainable poverty reduction, enhance nutrition and resilient rural economy in some northern states.
He said the project co-financed by IFAD, AFD and other development partners would boost food production and climate resilience while reducing post harvest losses, enhancing food security and nutrition in the states with fragile situations.
“”The VCN design mission is in line with the food systems transformation agenda and the recent Presidential declaration of emergency in Nigeria’s food sector which require a multi-sectoral, multifaceted approach if we are to succeed.
“VCN is in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals one two, three and 13 among others.”
Kyari added that it was also aligned to the National Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy, Agricultural Sector Food Security and Nutrition Strategy, National Development Plan, and National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy (NATIP).
“The intervention is also in line with IFAD Policies and Corporate Priorities in the areas of its Strategic Framework, Strategy and Action Plan on Environment and Climate Change 2019 to 2025, and Nutrition Action Plan 2019 to 2025, among others,” he said.
The minister called on the design team to pay attention to the voices of smallholder farmers, women, youth and vulnerable groups, the private sector, off-takers, agribusinesses, financial institutions, and service providers.
Mrs Dede Ekoue, IFAD Country Director, said VCD would engage 456,000 beneficiaries equivalent to 91,000 households in the northern states to boost food production, climate adaptive capacity and resilience, among others.
“It is in line with NATIP and the president’s agenda for agribusiness transformation.
”The project’s ambition is to enhance the integration of farmers in agribusiness value chains while taking specific measures to facilitate youth and women agric-entrepreneurship, foster partnership with private sector, modernising agriculture through the use of digital solutions.
”This aims to harness the potential of agri-food system for promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth, increase job creation and income.
“These can be achieved through development of stronger, better integrated, inclusive and resilient value chains that boost rural development,” she said.
Ms Sally Ibrahim, Project Manager, AFD identified nutrition as the major component of the programme.
Ibrahim, representing Mr Xavier Muron, the AFD Country Director, said better coordination among different stakeholders in the project was key in achieving its objectives.
Samuel Eremie, Lead Consultant of the project, said the VCN has eight years duration, and will start in Sokoto, Kebbi, Jigawa, Zamfara, Borno, Katsina, Yobe and Kano States.
Agric Minister launches 2023 dry season farming in Jigawa
By Umar AkiluMajeri, Dutse
In line with the Federal Government’s effort to address shortage of food and food inflation in the country, the Minister of Agriculture and food security, Senator Abubakar Kyari flagged off the 2023 wheat and dry season farming in Jigawa state.
In his address during the official launch of the programme at Kadume village in Hadejia local Government area of Jigawa state, the Minister said the dry season farming is under the National Agricultural Growth Scheme And Agro-Pocket Project (NAGSAP).
He explained that the dry season farming offers a unique opportunity to harness the untapped potential of their land and diversify Nigeria’s food production capabilities.
He however, noted that dry season farming allows farmers to overcome seasonal limitations and meet the demands of their growing population.
He pointed out that the dry season farming is being boosted by an african development bank loan of 134 Million Dollars and implemented under the national agricultural growth scheme and agro-pocket NAGS-AP project.
He explained further that the implementation of this ICT-driven with earlier steps taken to geo-locate farmlands, enumerate, register and cluster no fewer than 250,000 farmers.
The minister added that in wheat production alone, they aim to support between 150,000 to 250,000 farmers with 50 percent input subsidy to cultivate between 200,000 to 250,000 hectares and an expected yield of 1,250,000 tonnes of wheat.
Speaking further, Abubakar disclosed that other selected staples are earmarked for similar, varied support, all aimed at significantly reducing food inflation, as well as Nigeria’s dependence on foreign import, while increasing domestic consumption.
According to him, the critical requirement among others is availability of irrigable land where the dry season farming will take place.
The minister said, the crops being targeted for the dry season include wheat, cassava, rice, maize, sorghum which seeds have been imported from Mexico.
He noted that wheat farmers have been guaranteed off take of their produce by the flour millers association of nigeria.
AbubakarKyari said the availability of agricultural inputs and machinery will enhance the cultivation of about one hundred and twenty thousand hectares in different parts of the country.
He urged all farmers, researchers, private sector entities, civil society organisations and other stakeholders to come together and seize the opportunity presented by this 2023 Dry season farming initiative.
He also called on them to usher in a new era of agricultural prosperity and ensure a brighter future for Nigeria.
He assured that they can transform their challenges into opportunities and pave the way for a sustainable and food-secure nation.
Some of the dignitaries that attended the event include Governor Umar Namadi of Jigawa State, Emir OfHadejiaDrAdamuAbubakarMaje, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Vice President, Senator Ibrahim Hassan Hadejia and top government officials among others.
Agricultural inputs distributed to registered farmers during the occasion include seeds, fertilizer, herbicides, solar irrigation pumping machines and pesticides and sprayers.
Minister harps on adoption of technology tools to boost food production
Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Dr. Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi has harped on the necessity to utilise technological tools to boost food and nutrition security.
Speaking during the Africa Agric Machines Equipment and Technology Expo (AAMETEX 2023) with the theme “Transforming Africa’s Agriculture through Technology and Innovation,” the Minister said that the expo was aimed at exposing African farmers to mechanised farming, increase direct agricultural foreign investments and foreign exchange earnings, create new businesses, among others.
He noted that “there is a nexus between technological growth and food security, modern agricultural products equipment meant to improve efficiency in production and processing.”
Sen. Abdullahi pointed out that the forum would identify opportunities for collaboration and partnerships with other stakeholders and proffer solutions to the current and future challenges faced by the agricultural sector in the continent.
He further said that it would provide a platform for discussions on economic, political and social landscape, impacts on the growth of the agricultural sector in Africa, build relationships across agencies and all spheres of government to accommodate technology and innovation.
Sen. Abullahi recalled that the present administration led by President Ahmed Bola Tinubu, GCFR, came on the mantra of ‘Food Security, Fighting Corruption and Economic Growth’ and as such, the Agricultural Sector was identified to be fundamental in driving the economic diversification and growth.
The Minister revealed that the Ministry was working with local and international Companies, engaging in bi-lateral and multilateral agreements such as Brazil Government and other international Agro-machinery companies aimed at providing basic Agricultural machinery to Nigerian farmers.
He stated that “under the Brazilian bilateral agreement, 10,000 tractors and 50,000 processing equipment are expected to be imported in Completely Knocked Down (CKD) and will be distributed to all the Local Government Areas of the Federation.”
Earlier in his remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr Ernest Umakhihe represented by the Director Special Duties, Mrs Fausat Lawal stated that the forum would contribute to the production and processing of agricultural raw materials and development of agri-food value chain.
He added that it would also promote the growth of the agro-industrial sector and export of food products made in Nigeria and add value from primary processing to secondary product in line with international standard.
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