Banks to grant CRR loans to Agric sector

The Bankers’ Committee, an umbrella body of managing directors of commercial banks in the country and directors of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has authorized the use of Cash Reserve Ratio for future lending to the Agricultural and Manufacturing sectors of the economy.

The Committee took this stand at its August meeting in Lagos, yesterday, approving that the loan should be available at both sectors at one digit interest rate.

Managing Director, Guaranty Trust Bank, Segun Agbaje, in a briefing after the meeting, said that the loans are long-term loans where the beneficiaries would be able to take fixed interest rate loans for seven years.

“These are not short-term loans; they are long-term loans of seven-year loans, two-year moratorium on principal.” He explained.

The Director further stated that “It would probably be the first time in the history of this country where manufacturers would be able to take fixed interest rate loans for seven years which means they would be able to plan. The volatility that they fear for all kinds of risks would be taken out and I think these are very laudable steps in improving and growing the economy”.

On his part, the Executive Director, Finance, FCMB, Yemisi Edun, said the loans would only be channeled towards the Agricultural and Manufacturing sector, for now, adding that it was for the growth and expansion of the sectors as well as creation of jobs in the country.

“This is very positive for the economy and also be positive for banks because we would be able to access these funds and earn on it. And because it would be coming at a single-digit rate, it would be positive for the economy”. He said.

Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR), is a specified minimum amount of deposit that commercial banks have to hold as reserves with the central bank. It is fixed in line with the stipulated guidelines of the Central bank. As at June 2018, the total CRR of banks in Nigeria was N4.1 trillion.

Sokoto flags off economic tree planting


The Government of Sokoto state has commenced the planting of a hundred thousand diverse economic trees such as moringa and mango across the state.

The programme designed by the Sokoto State Zakkat and Endowment Commission took place at the Government Girls College.

The Secretary to the State Government, Professor Bashir Garba, who represented the governor Aminu Tambuwal, said that the exercise was designed to cover the 86 districts of the

According to him “The programme as an annual event was designed to cover the entire 86 districts of the state in order to improve our revenue generation system.

“Moreover, we are all aware of the general importance of tree planting in Islam, as a reward of such acts will continue even after death. He added

On his part, The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, hailed the Sokoto State Government for its commitment towards supporting the living standard of the people, noting that the initiative was one of the best achievements other states should adopt.

“The gesture will no doubt serve to support the economy, protect the environment and reduce poverty among our people, as well as attract a lot of reward from Allah.” He said

He added that “Planting trees are regarded as an act of charity (Sadaqa) and the planter receives blessings from all those who benefit from it.”

FG to boost Agriculture through solar powered borehole


The Federal Government has said it will install about 997 solar-powered boreholes to improve agriculture in the country.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh during the distribution of contract award letters to contractors and the broadcast planting of improved fodder seeds in Yobe State.

Ogbeh noted that the projects would be sited in seven states of the federation which include Borno, Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara states.

The Minister stressed that the move to develop water harvesting equipment, and the establishment of 3,000ha of community woodlots, shelter belt, and afforestation was because of the fast depleting vegetation in the participating states and the need to touch the lives of about 30,000 vulnerable women and men.

“The projects which would be completed this year will undertake 22 rural roads with support structures such as drainages, culverts, rails, and drifts covering a distance of 59.09km across the participating states,” he added

In his remarks, the Emir of Daura, Dr. Umar Faruq, appealed to the Federal Government to set up a rice mill and develop more dams for irrigation and extension of subsidized mechanized facilities to farmers in the state.

Reduce lending rates for farmers- FG tell banks

Lending rates
Chief Audu Ogbeh has appealed to commercial banks to reduce lending rates to farmers in order to spur Agricultural development in the country.

Chief Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, has appealed to commercial banks to reduce their lending rates to farmers to spur the development of agriculture in Nigeria.

The minister made the appeal on Tuesday in Abuja at a three-day conference on: “Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project’’ organized by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Abuja.

Ogbeh says the high-interest rate being charged by commercial banks on loans to farmers is inimical to the growth and development of agriculture.

The minister pointed out that the government was committed to encouraging youths participation in agriculture.

Ogbeh said some Nigerian youths had signified their interest to go back to the farm but the banks’ lending rate had become a cog in the wheel of actualizing their decisions.

According to him, there is no way the interest rate of between 25 to 29 percent could grow the economy and no farmer could survive the high-interest rate.

“Some banks are saying that the lowest they can give is 25 percent interest on their loans and no farmer can survive with this rate.

“The banks do not give consideration to the gestation period before they start the charges, this is a big challenge.

“Nigeria’s banks’ interest rates have been viewed as one of the highest in the world.

“There is no farmer that could survive the high-interest rates, something needs to be done because it poses a big threat to food security and development of agriculture.’’

The minister said the government was committed to the development of agriculture as part of the determination to feed the growing population.

To this end, the Federal Government was determined to provide more mechanized farming inputs to farmers in the country to boost food production, he said.

The minister said the government was committed to encouraging youths to venture into modernizing agriculture by using mechanized farming inputs such as machines for planting, spraying, tilling and harvesting among others.

Also, Prof. Titus Awokuse, Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Economy, Michigan State University, U.S. said the university and the department had worked in partnership with research and teaching institutions in West Africa for 50 years.

Awokuse, who is the Chairman of the occasion, said the institution would continue to work towards the development of agriculture in Nigeria and African countries.

Dr. George Mavrotas, Chief of the project, Head of IFPRI Nigeria Office, noted that IFPRI work centres around six strategic research areas with gender as a cross-cutting theme.

According to him, IFPRI is working to ensure sustainable food production by enhancing groundwater governance, promoting a healthy food system, improving markets and trade, building resilience and strengthening institutions and governance.

Mavrotas said IFPRI would always do its best to ensure adequate policy for the development of the Nigerian agriculture.

He said this had become imperative because, through adequate policies and research programme, food systems could be strengthened to better serve the interest of smallholder farmers and the poor consumers.

Participants at the conference were drawn from various sectors of agriculture to deliberate on food security, nutrition challenges, food system transformation, and climate change among others.

CBN grants N14.9 Billion loan to NECAS



This was revealed in Abuja by the National President of NECAS, Alhaji Sadiq Deware. The loan is for a year.

He stated that twenty-seven farmers would profit from the programme while seventy-five hectares of land would be cultivated in the four participating states.

According to him, “The beneficiaries were farmers who were mainly affected by the insurgency in Taraba, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa and Yobe states”

He also stated that Borno state was not included as a result of the insecurity in the state, input would be given to farmers on loan basis and payment will be made in three phases.

“Starting with the first payment of 40 percent after the first farming cycle, then they would pay the remaining two cycles of 30 percent making a total of 100 percent,” he said

“Before now, the size of each farm had been captured and an identity card was issued to each of the beneficiaries of the project for easy identification and documentation to enable them to access the required support,’’ He further stated.

Deware noted that for the successful implementation of the project, the extension workers had been taught the working systems of modern technologies in service delivery and they were assured that the training would be beneficial to the farmers.

He, therefore, expressed optimism that the new initiative would multiply the achievements of the ABP, adding that the role of agricultural extension agents in the development of agriculture in the world was very crucial.

Shea Butter: Nigeria’s under explored Goldmine


Niger State which produces Shea Butter in Nigeria contributes over 57% of global shea butter needs. Yet other African countries export high numbers of shea butter than Africa.

The Minister of State, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment recently said that volume of shea butter volume export has grown to over 350,000 tonnes per annum. This she said has attracted annual income of over $200 million into shea butter producing countries.

Unfortunately for Nigeria, who is the largest producer of shea butter has not benefited like it should from the potentials of shea butter exports.

FADAMA  has trained women on shea butter production which is giving them a lot of awareness and market all over the country. The State Export Promotion Council, assist the women in the exportation of the Shea Butter products. Aside from that, centres have been established in different areas of the state where these women can be trained.

There has been a shortage of shea butter this year due to the cutting down of shea butter trees for firewood and the government is trying hard to stop it. The Niger State Government has started planting trees in various zones, and the goal is to plant 10,000 shea butter in all the zones. One ton of shea butter is about N550,000.

Shea butter can be used for the production of cosmetic and is rich in Vitamin A. It is also used in health products, and in the confectionery and chocolate industry. Europe is the largest buyer of shea butter in the world.

The State government should put in every effort to ensure that it develops the shea butter market

Nigeria’s Sesame seed market gains traction

Sesame Seed

Nigeria’s sesame seed is fast gaining traction in the global market as farmers’ ramp up production in efforts to explore opportunities to earn substantial dollars through non-oil export.
Nigeria, the world’s third largest producer and supplier of sesame seed, saw the volume of its global supply increase by 7 percent, from 432,900MT in 2015 to 460,988MT in 2016, according to data compiled by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).
Industry players say there will likely to a 20 to 40 percent increase in production when numbers for 2017 is made available, noting that the country has drastically increased its sesame seed production in recent years.
“There is a high demand for Nigeria’s sesame seed in the international market now and a lot of farmers are growing the crop because of the huge export potential. Last year alone, we ought to have increase our production between 20 and 40 percent,” Victor Iyama, president, Federation of Agricultural Commodities Association Nigeria (FACAN) told BusinessDay.
“In 2017, we exported over 300,000MT tons and we can do over 500,000MT this year because the demand for our sesame in the international market is very high,” Iyama said.
He said that the industry is currently worth about $700 million and that the crop requires a short period to grow. Sesame seed production is steadily growing by the day and it is now Nigeria’s second most important non-oil export crop after cocoa, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data show.
Data from NBS shows that sesame seed export increased by 105 percent year on year from N13 billion in Q1 2017 to N27 billion in Q1 2018. A total of N42 billion worth of sesame was exported in 2017, according to the NBS.
“Sesame is one agricultural produce that does not have any quality challenges. Moisture is not a major issue because the crop is very easy to dry,” Madu Obiora, former chairman-export group, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) said in a telephone interview.
“Despite the fact that we are growing more sesame seeds and the demand for it is increasing daily, we are yet to get the full benefits in growing the crop because of the very low investments in processing. The big money is in value addition,” Obiora said. The bulk of Nigeria’s sesame seeds are exported to Asia, Europe and the United States.
Sesame crop thrives well in the northern part of the country owing to its drought resistance nature. It is mostly grown in Jigawa, Bauchi, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba, Abuja and some parts of the South West. It can also be grown in some parts of the South East and South-South.
“Sesame has a lot of potentials. It has both commercial and medicinal value and oil extracted from the seeds is better than every other seed oil,” Mutairu Mamudu, national president, Sesame Farmers Association of Nigeria told BusinessDay in a telephone response to questions.
“It is 100 percent free of cholesterol and that is why the demand for it is very huge both locally and internationally,” said Mamudu.
Currently, prices of a metric ton of sesame seed in Nigeria has increased by 29 percent from N350,000 in April to N450,000 in August.
“A lot of exporters are trooping our farmland looking for sesame to buy. Some are even willing to buy from us directly from the farm before you harvest,” Danladi Mohammed, a sesame farmer in Kebbi state said.

How Nigeria can increase Forex from Gum Arabic



Nigeria can improve its Forex earning from Gum Arabic if the Government can sensitize Nigerians on the benefit of the product.

Gum Arabic is a natural product that is derived from hardened acacia tree sap. Gum Arabic is used primarily by the food industry.

The three largest exporters of Gum Arabic in the world are Sudan, Chad, and Nigeria which accounted for 66%, 13%, and 8.5% between 2014 and 2016. This period saw exports of processed gum Arabic tripled from 17,000 tonnes to 53,000 tonnes.

Nigeria has an annual estimated output of 22,000 tonnes, unfortunately, the country’s production does not reflect its potentials.

Nigeria has been hindered by quality inconsistency, poor market organization and product disruption due to Boko Haram insurgency.

The government need to sensitize farmers on the financial of their agricultural produce (not only Gum Arabic), by releasing data through the Ministry of Agriculture on what country is in demand for their produce. Farmers should also have at their disposal the market prices for their products. This will give them an idea of how much they can earn if they put in more effort to produce more of their of their agricultural products.

The government should also put in effort to provide an enabling environment for the farmers so as to motivate them to produce more produce.

More Forex can only be earned from Gum Arabic only there is an increase in supply. Since the Government is diversifying the economy from being dependent on Oil, and given the figures from the export of Gum Arabic, Farmers of the produce should put in more efforts to produce more the produce if they are to earn more Forex from the produce.

Farmers to access free toll line

Free toll

From August 2018, farmers will get access to free toll lines as a toll-free call centre will be made available.

while addressing the press, Mr. Tarun Kumar Das, who is the MD of a Kaduna- based tractor plant announced that a toll-free call centre will be made available to farmers from August.

He said this call centres will allow farmers to call in to discuss issues they in their daily activities on the farm and that this centres will be available in three major cities in the country.

According to Kumar Das, this service which offered in English, Yoruba, Hausa, and Igbo languages will help tackle any problem related to farming ranging from cultivation, prices of insecticides, and pest controls to other general farming-related issues.

“From my observation, about 50 percent of the cultivation in Nigeria is done by hand and hoes while only 10 percent is through mechanization. Others use ploughs and other small mercenaries. As of now, the situation in Nigeria is such that only about 30,000 tractors are active while the country needs about 10,000 tractors every year to achieve the needed level of mechanization,” Kumar Das said.