Covid-19: Two Million Small-Scale Farmers to Access Zero-Interest Financing Under AFJP- Nanono

The Federal Government has said that it will provide zero-interest input financing options to two million smallholder farmers in the country under its new Agriculture for Food and Jobs Plan (AFJP).

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Sabo Nanono, on Tuesday told journalists in Abuja that the development was part of efforts to mitigate the effects of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on food production.

“The AFJP targets two million smallholder farmers across the 36 states of Nigeria and the FCT and aims to produce 10 million tonnes of food which include carbohydrates, animal protein, and edible oils within the next 12 months,” Nanono.

On execution, the Agric Minister pointed out that the AFJP scheme will be a joint venture that will involve the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the private sector, and beneficiary farmers.

Nanono said, “This programme will be achieved through investment in the sector by way of providing zero-interest input financing options such as fertilisers and seeds to farmers across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory to produce harvests that could be sold domestically and internationally.”

The plan, Nanono further said, will run for a duration of 12 months with an aggregate of two million hectares of land. The minister explained that FMARD has the plan well mapped-out, and will inaugurate the project which will help with storage and off-take mechanisms for their produce.

Nanono, who pointed out that the plan will target priority crops and livestock, listed some of the crops to include rice, maize, sorghum, groundnuts, cowpea, cassava, and millet.

He listed others as horticulture, palm kernel, cotton, sesame seeds, cocoa, hides, and skin, among others. The Minister, therefore, assured stakeholders of government’s support to protect jobs in the sector so as to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the food supply chain.



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