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December 16th, 2016 / African Farming, UK

Nigeria is turning to farming as dwindling oil income has driven the economy to the brink of its first full-year contraction in more than two decades.

The government plans to capitalise the state-owned Bank of Agriculture Ltd. with US$3.2bn so it can lend to farming projects at less than half the commercial rate. It is also working with the African Development Bank and World Bank to set up staple crop-processing zones with the electricity and roads needed to attract more private-sector money.

The West African nation, which grew almost all the food it consumed and topped global palm oil and groundnut production in the 1960s, ignored farming when petrodollars started flowing, leaving it dependent on crude for 90 per cent of export earnings and the bulk of government revenue, according to an AgWeb report.

Minister of agriculture and rural development Audu Ogbeh said, “It is only agriculture that’s going to feed us and employ more of us, not oil.” See more