Nigerian govt secures N3.38bn AfDB loan for Irish potatoes production in Plateau

Nigerian govt secures N3.38bn AfDB loan for Irish potatoes production in Plateau
July 26 22:02 2017

The federal government said on Wednesday that it has secured a N3.38 billion loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to support mass production Irish potatoes and development of value chain in Plateau state.

Plateau is the largest producer of Irish potatoes in the country and this would be the first time it is benefiting from a loan facility from the AfDB.

Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja, Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said the loan has 25 years repayment plan with moratorium of five years at the rate of one per cent.

She said Plateau state government would provide N595 million as counterpart funding for the project which targets the creation of 60,000 jobs.

The minister said the loan would be used to develop the Irish potatoes value chain in the 17 local local government areas of the state and that it would be jointly executed by FADAMA project and a unit in the state Ministry of Agriculture.

According to her, about 70 per cent of the loan would be used for the provision of infrastructure, extension services, impoved planting and marketing in order to boost production and minimise wastage.

She said: “My approval was on behalf of Plateau State to support the potato value chain. There is a loan that we had previously cancelled from AfDB. So, it is not a new loan. We cancelled it and redirected the money to request on behalf of Plateau State Government to support the potato value chain.

“The rationale is that Plateau actually accounts for 95 per cent of Nigeria’s potato production and from Plateau, potatoes are actually exported to Ghana, Niger, Chad and other countries and despite that, there are huge profit losses because there is no enough storage and there is so much more we can do with Plateau’s potatoes.

“So, AfDB has come up with a comprehensive programme that will affect over 100,000 families. It is expected to create 60,000 jobs in a potato value chain, from processing, storage, replacement of current inputs and indeed, export.

“Now, the terms of the loan is one per cent per annum interest rate and it has 25 years moratorium. Plateau State will provide counterpart funding and the balance will be borrowed. It will affect 17 local government areas and we expect it to make significant job creation.

“The amount of the loan is N3.38 billion equivalent and Plateau State ought to contribute N595 million as their own counterpart funding. We have put a process in place to ensure adequate monitoring. This is really an important economic development for the nation and for Plateau State in particular.

We have real advantage in potato production. We are really going to invest the money on roads. In some cases, the money will be used for roads to enable the products to come out. Sometimes, it is for storage. Sometimes, it is transportation. Sometimes, it is access to seedlings.”