The federal government will borrow $1.2 billion from the Netherlands Bank and the Development Bank of Brazil to promote mechanized agriculture in Nigeria.

Special Adviser to the President on Agriculture Andrew Kwasari told reporters in Abuja on Wednesday that the initiative is under the government’s Green Imperative project.

He said, “The Green Imperative will address mechanization issues and provide agricultural processing services. These two areas will work together through service centers that will be established in each Local Government Area in Nigeria.

“This project will be run by the private sector. All the service centers will be run by private entrepreneurs who will also be responsible for servicing the loan.”

Kwasari added, “The Green Imperative is a loan program that will bring in foreign direct investment of 995 million euros, or $1.2 billion.

“This has been structured financially so that the government can use bilateral negotiations and come to a financing that is below three percent interest per year and has a maturity of about 15 years to be paid.”

He said that the loan has been insured in the insurance market and that the financing comes from the Netherlands Bank and the Development Bank of Brazil, while the fund is insured by the Islamic Development Bank.

Kwasari said that the loan was structured with a monitoring policy with the Central Bank of Nigeria to allow lending to entrepreneurs in Naira.

This came at a time when the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, on Wednesday tasked investors in the private sector to drive production of the cassava value chain to meet local consumption and export demand.

Nanono said his ministry will create appropriate guidelines for the successful production and distribution of cassava products to ensure food and raw materials are available for the industry.

The minister said this in his office while receiving the Economically Sustainable and Integrated Cassava Seed System Phase II project team.