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By NBF News
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Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has said that government would be injecting over N60 billion into the nation's agriculture sector to support the substitution of 40 percent of bread wheat flour with cassava flour programme.

Adesina said that the new funding was part of efforts to diversify the economy and reduce overdependence on oil as well as 'revamp the agricultural sector, ensure food security, diversify the economy and enhance foreign exchange earnings.'

The programme is expected to generate over N300 billion additional incomes in the hands of Nigerian farmers.

Speaking at the just concluded D-8 Private Sector/Investment Workshop on Gene Bank Development and Management and Investment in Fertilizer Production in Abuja, the Minister said Nigeria has embarked on a transformation agenda that focused on the development of agricultural value chains, including provision and availability of improved inputs, increased productivity, as well as the establishment of staple crop processing zones.

'Over N60 billion is being injected into the economy from Government has also paid adequate attention to seed and fertilizer distribution and marketing not only in the provision of infrastructural facilities such as roads, water supply,' he added.

Adesina revealed that government would expand access to finance to rural farmers by reducing agric interest rate to 7 percent.

'In extending financial incentives through agro-dealers, we are providing them with bank facilities at the reduced interest rate of seven percent and 70 percent guarantee on the loan principal under the new policy.'

He said the gesture were aimed at assisting the agricultural input supply companies and expand their market network up to the ward/village levels to enable farmers access the fertilizers and seeds at their door steps.

He called for strong public and private sector partnership within the D-8 countries which include Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey.

Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Martin Uhomoibhi, urged for improved methods of practicing agriculture such as has mechanized farming and better research for improve yields and food security.