News Column

FEC Approves U.S.$152.12 Million AfDB Loan

April 24, 2014

Jaiyeola Andrews

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) Wednesday gave the approval for a loan of $152.12 million and a grant of $385,000 from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to support the agricultural transformation agenda of the federal government.

Briefing State House correspondents after FEC meeting, the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Akinwumi Adesina, said the approval of the loan by the AfDB was as a result of the progress Nigeria had made in the sector.

"We promised that we will add 20 million metric tons of food to our domestic food supply by 2015. As of now we have done 15 million metric tons.

He explained: "Despite the progress made do far, there are a number of challenges that we have seen in the rural areas one of those is the low level of agro processing.

"We have also poor rural infrastructure which make it difficult for farmers to evacuate their produce.

"We also noticed that a lot of companies that process foods in Nigeria are located in the urban areas like Lagos and they import all raw materials, process it and send it back inward."

Continuing, he said: "We are changing all of that by adding value to every single thing we produce in the country and add value where it is produced. When we do that not only do we reduce cost of transport we reduce storage loses, transport loses, we create jobs and revive our rural areas.

He noted that the staple crops processing zones to be supported by the loan would be an innovative model.

"As a government we are determined to do import substitution by making sure that all what we are producing, rice, cassava, maize, soya beans and others are processed in the zones of high production," he said, adding that "the staple crop processing zone is an area of high production to which we are putting in the enabling environment to attract private sector food processing companies to come in to and process and add value to our commodities," Adesina added.

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Source: AllAfrica