Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele has assured Nigerians youths that over 360,000 jobs will be created through the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme, AADS.
This was disclosed on Friday to stakeholders at a meeting on the operational framework for the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme.
The scheme was aimed at engaging unemployed youths between the ages of 18 and 35.
A minimum of 10,000 youth interested in engaging in sustainable and profitable activities along the agriculture value chain in each state, would be employed and trained, the CBN governor explained.
“This scheme has been designed to create an ecosystem with the active participation of the public sector, state governments and the private sector.
“I believe we are on the verge of something very significant with the AADS,” he said.
According to Mr. Emefiele one of the objectives of AADS is the creation of an economy of scale for farming on adjoining land.
“It aims to reduce cost of production with availability of high quality inputs at competitive prices and lowering delivery cost of extension services.
“It will also assist farmers in embracing modern farming practices, such as use of tractors and irrigation schemes,” he said.
The governor said the bank will provide financing at single digit interest rates and that state governors are expected to provide adjoining arable land, more efficient extension services, training, basic infrastructure, and mentorship for the beneficiaries.
He further explained that “beneficiaries are not expected to come up with any physical collateral but they must be grouped into formally registered cooperatives and cross-guarantee each other.”
“All loan beneficiaries must also have valid Bank Verification Numbers (BVN), which will be registered on the National Collateral Registry and used to track repayments and also blacklist any defaulters.”
He also disclosed that engagements with stakeholders would be continuous to ensure that the scheme begins during the dry season cultivation period of the year.
The Federal Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh said his ministry would be providing technical support for the project.
“We will be fully involved in the land clearing aspect of the project. In some places, we will also be building dams and lakes to ensure all season farming.
“We will also provide advice because we have a team of experts at the ministry on crops, soil testing and the right kind of fertiliser so that when these young people go into agriculture, they won’t lose money,” he said.
The Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu, acknowledged the efforts of the federal government in the agriculture sector particularly their recognition of the benefit of agriculture to economic development .
Mr. Bagudu also projected the need to involve financial institutions whose banking models allow to support agriculture in the scheme to aid success.