The Nigerian government, working together with the Bank of Agriculture, recently gave out N2.3 million in loans for agriculture to government employees. This effort is part of a larger plan to boost agriculture and improve food security across the nation.
Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan, the leader of the Civil Service in Nigeria, shared this news while giving cheques to four people who were the first to benefit from the Agripreneurship Training Scheme, an initiative under her supervision. She mentioned that 87 officers took part in the first training session held in March 2023. A second group, consisting of 98 individuals, started their training on November 20, 2023.
Dr. Yemi-Esan reassured the employees that her office is fully committed to making sure this program is successful.
An official statement from her office highlighted that this Agripreneurship Scheme is a key part of the Federal Civil Service Strategy and Implementation Plan for 2021-2025. Its main goal is to improve the welfare and well-being of civil servants, leading to better performance at work. It also supports President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda, which focuses on strengthening agriculture to ensure enough food is available for everyone.
This program is a part of the Federal Public Service Entrepreneurship initiative. It offers government workers an extra way to earn money, helps those about to retire prepare for life after work, and contributes to the growth of different parts of the economy. This, in turn, helps increase Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product.
The program is run by a team made up of the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, the Public Service Institute of Nigeria (PSIN), and the Bank of Agriculture. They all have specific roles and responsibilities, which are clearly defined in a formal agreement to guarantee the program is carried out effectively.
The Head of Civil Service oversees the program, PSIN takes care of the theoretical teaching, and the Bank of Agriculture offers loans to those who qualify to start their businesses after training. A group of experts created the training curriculum.
The first group of trainees went through a two-week intensive training at PSIN, where they learned about different parts of the agricultural value chain. They also got practical experience by working on selected farms in Abuja, which matched their business interests.
Alwan Hassan, the Managing Director of the Bank of Agriculture, said in the statement that these loans have a low interest rate of only 9%. The repayment of these loans is tied to the salaries of the participants. He praised Dr. Yemi-Esan for starting this initiative and encouraged government workers to consider agriculture as a backup plan for their retirement.