To farm or not to farm is no longer the question. Everyone realizes that among the various sectors of economic development in Nigeria, agriculture comes out top as the most viable. Agriculture has been identified as the largest employer of labor in Africa, particularly Nigeria. Many analysts have described the sector as a goldmine waiting to be fully explored.
The available land for farming activities in Nigeria is simply overwhelming. A recent report revealed that Nigeria has about 84 million hectares of arable land, of which only about 40% has been cultivated. Add our favorable climatic conditions that sustain the growth of agricultural products such as rice, groundnut, cassava, cashew, cocoa, palm oil, to mention but a few, and you begin to get the picture – Agriculture in Nigeria is good business.
The problem young people face when they think of going into entrepreneurship is no longer whether agriculture business is worth investing in. The problem is twofold: (1) what type of agriculture business to start and, (2) how to raise capital to start an agriculture business.
A previous post has addressed the matter of what agriculture business to invest in, listing top 50 agriculture business ideas for smart entrepreneurs. In this post, we will explore some government grants and loans available for Nigerian farmers to keep their business booming.
GOVERNMENT LOANS AND GRANTS IN NIGERIA.
One of the surest strategies any government can employ to encourage her citizens’ participation in farming and agricultural practices is creating avenues where they can access government loans and grants.
To fast-track the development of the agricultural sector, and to encourage farmers and investors to embrace agriculture, the federal government of Nigeria have set up different schemes and programs to provide funds in terms of loans and grants to large and small-scale farmers.
These credit facilities are made available by the federal government to the public, and cover a range of agricultural practices including crop cultivation and livestock rearing. There are a number of avenues the government has provided for individuals and corporate bodies to access agricultural loans. Some of them include;
- CBN agricultural loan to farmers in Nigeria.
- Bank of agriculture loan
1. CBN AGRICULTURAL LOAN
This loan scheme was set up by the federal government to provide low interest loans to farmers in Nigeria. To achieve this, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has recently approved the disbursement of about 75billion naira as loan to farmers and cooperative societies in the 36 state and the federal capital territory (FCT). This loan can be accessed directly from the Bank of Agriculture.
2. BANK OF AGRICULTURE (BOA) LOANS
The Bank of Agriculture of Nigeria is the major avenue the government has employed to disburse loans and grant to the public. The bank is owned by the federal government, with the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Finance incorporated as shareholders.
The activities of the bank are supervised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and rural development. When thinking of government loans, the BOA should be your first choice.
REQUIREMENTS FOR Bank of Agriculture (BOA) LOANS
- You must have maintained a minimum customer account relationship of about six months
- You must have deposited at least 20% of the required loan amount into the account
- You must provide collateral, excluding land.
- You must provide a detailed business plan.
However the requirements for acquiring the loan are negotiable and may depend largely on the feasibility of your agricultural venture. Further details about the BOA loans are available on the BOA website
Apart from the BOA, there are other means of acquiring agricultural loans
The federal government through the bank of agriculture and the bank of industries have partnered with different commercial banks to help farmers with acquisition of loans. Some of the commercial banks you can approach to access loans are; Union bank, First bank, Zenith bank, UBA, and Stanbic IBTC.
REQUIREMENTS FOR ACCESSING LOANS FROM COMMERCIAL BANKS
Commercial banks also give loans to individuals and cooperatives for agricultural purposes. There are a variety of loan facility that you could apply for from commercial banks, this include; short-term loans, medium term loans, and long-term loans. The general requirement for all the commercial banks includes;
- Open an account with the bank
- Submit a loan application
- Deposit at least 10% of the total money you applied for
- Provide the bank with collateral
- Provide a detailed business plan with complete feasibility study.
To get more information about available government loans from commercial banks, you could approach any of the bank branches in your locality for more details.
3. AGRICULTURAL CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETIES
The easiest and surest means of securing agricultural loans is through cooperative societies. Credits given to these societies come as grants. Generally, the banks provide the grants to the cooperative societies who then distribute it to each member on the basis of contributory payments.
Some of the most notable agricultural cooperative that you can join to access loans are; all farmers association of Nigeria (AFAN), youth empowerment in agricultural program (YEAP), and FADAMA. Here’s an article on how to get government grants for rice farmers in Nigeria under the FADAMA initiative.
Accessing government loans and grants from banks by cooperative societies are relatively simpler – the basic requirements include:
- Form a cooperative society
- Submit a loan application writing with the cooperative letter head to the bank. The application should be signed by the cooperative’s representative.
- Submit a detailed feasibility study on the business.
The federal government is paying increasing attention to the agriculture sector by making loans and grants available. Many quick thinking farmers have taken advantage of this opportunity; they are currently enjoying the benefits. You can get started today and enter your own world of wealth.
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