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Banks must raise agric loans to 10% of credit assets within 4 years —Emefiele

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Banks have to grow the share of their credit to the agricultural sector by more than twice its current size to make it up to one tenth of their total loan portfolio in the next four years in order to stimulate food production in Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, the central bank chief said on Tuesday, according to a Reuters report.

The country depends substantially on imports like foods to compliment local production because of its manufacturing inadequacy.

In recent years, it has taken actions to trim its $20 billion yearly spending on food importation, with government banning forex sales for food imports last week in its latest protectionist effort.

Currently, credit to the food sector is in the region of 4% of total exposure, Emefiele told bankers, going further to say the coronavirus crisis had bared the vulnerabilities inherent reliance on food importation as most nations are unwilling to import goods.

READ ALSO: Banks’ loans rise to N3.3 trillion in 12 months

A lot of farmers still work with their hands in rice plantations without irrigation facilities even though government prioritised the cultivation of the crop on a large scale.

Mills are largely run with dilapidated machinery, while Nigeria’s network of decrepit roads has made conveyance of the produce from the north, where it is mostly grown, to consumers in southern Nigeria to consumers hard and expensive.

Africa’s largest economy is confronting its worst slowdown in forty years, set in motion by an oil crash caused by the pandemic outbreak.

The problem has eroded government revenues, weakened the naira and widened the financing gap.

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Adekola Shobiye

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