Ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo has urged commercial banks to lower interest rates for farmers to enable them to access loans for agriculture.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2017 Niger state investment summit in Minna on Monday, Obasanjo said high interest rate was one of the challenges farmers face.
While explaining that it was difficult for farmers to pay back loans and run their business at the same time, the former president said fixing interest rate in double digits would promote failure.
He also urged the Niger state government to take advantage of the state’s proximity to Abuja and employment and market through agriculture.
“The interest rate of banks in Nigeria is one of the obstacles that are affecting our farmers,” Obasanjo said.
“They are not able to pay banks after taking loans and at the same time still able to run their agriculture business successfully.
“A state cannot develop in isolation, you have to work with other states and take advantage of economy of scale and identify areas that are profitable, then utilise them.”
Abubakar Abdulsalami, former head of state, also urged commercial banks to lower interest rates for farmers.
He expressed optimism that agriculture was taking a centre stage in the diversification of the economy.
“If we want to make progress as a country, we need to look into our interest rate to make it easier for our farmers to access loans,” he said.