The Federal Government, in collaboration with the Bank of Agriculture, has successfully distributed N2.3 million in agricultural loans to civil servants. The primary objective is to boost agricultural development and fortify food security across the nation.
Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, personally presented cheques to the first batch of beneficiaries under the Agripreneurship Training Scheme. She revealed that 87 officers participated in the initial training held in March 2023, and an additional 98 participants from the second batch commenced training on November 20, 2023.
Yemi-Esan reassured workers of her office’s unwavering commitment to the effective implementation of the scheme. The Agripreneurship Scheme aligns with the Federal Civil Service Strategy and Implementation Plan 2021 to 2025, with a specific focus on enhancing the welfare and well-being of civil servants for high-impact performance. It also corresponds with the Renewed Hope Agenda of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led administration, concentrating on boosting agriculture to achieve food security.
This initiative, a part of the Federal Public Service Entrepreneurship, not only provides civil servants with a supplementary income window but also aids retirees in transitioning post-service. Moreover, it contributes to the development of various sectors of the economy, thereby increasing the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
Operated under a tripartite arrangement involving the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, the Public Service Institute of Nigeria (PSIN), and the Bank of Agriculture, the roles and responsibilities are clearly outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding to ensure effective scheme implementation. The Head of Service coordinates the program, PSIN handles theoretical components, and the Bank of Agriculture provides credit facilities to eligible participants for business startup after training, with a curriculum developed by a team of resource persons.
The first batch of trainees participated in a two-week intensive training at PSIN, exposing them to various aspects of the agriculture value chain. Additionally, they engaged in structured hands-on training at selected farms within Abuja, aligning with their chosen areas of business interest.
The Managing Director of the Bank of Agriculture, Alwan Hassan, emphasized that the credit facility offers a single-digit interest rate of 9 per cent, with loan repayment linked to participants’ salaries. He commended the Head of Service for the initiative, urging civil servants to consider agricultural business as a viable option in retirement.