Successive Nigerian governments have continued to pay lip service to the diversification of the countries economy towards Agriculture. The revenue from Crude oil seems to be taking all their attention and thus, a country blessed with largely arable farmlands and a good weather is unable to tap into the many benefits which agriculture provides.
The current administration which is facing a big re-election battle in 2019 and can only be in power for another 4 years is seeking a loan investment from Brazil to revive its Agricultural sector - which has nothing to show for the almost 1 Trillion Naira which government claims to have made available in the last 3 years.
Another big question in need of answers is why the government will want to take a loan investment on a 13 years agreement when they know they will not be in power for half that period to pay it back?
The $1.1 Billion Agreement
The Brazilian Ambassador to Nigeria, Ricardo Guerra de Araujo, says Brazil will soon inject 1.1 billion dollars into Nigeria’s agriculture.
The ambassador spoke at a dinner to sensitize Nigerians on an agriculture programme – Agritech Nigeria – organised by the Osun Government.
According to him, Brazil will help to transform Nigeria’s agriculture with the fund by establishing a tractor assembly plant in Bauchi State.
He said that sustainable use of tractors and modern technology for farming in Nigeria would boost productivity.
He added that mechanized agriculture would enhance value addition, food systems development and other opportunities for farmers.
According to him, it will also improve efficiency in the use of resources, enhance market access and help in mitigating climate-related hazards.
“It will also keep the youth busy because they will be employed, and create development in the area where the plant is established,” he said.
He said that the package proposed by Nigeria’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development would move Nigeria’s agriculture sector forward.
The ambassador said that the project to be financed by the Brazilian Exim-Bank would come in three phases while the Central Bank of Nigeria would make available concessional resources through local banks.
According to the envoy, the proposed term of financing is 13 years including 10 years of repayment and two years of grace.
The ambassador said that under the project, Brazil would bring agriculture equipment which would create more jobs for the Nigerian youth and stabilize the agriculture sector.
NAN reports that bilateral relations between Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa, and Brazil, the largest country in Latin America, dates back to the 18th century.