The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has moved to engage a minimum of 370,000 Nigerian youths under its Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS).
The youths are to be engaged in agricultural production across the country over the next three years.
The CBN confirmed the employment of the youths in a fresh guidelines titled “Non-Interest Guidelines for the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS), which was released on Tuesday.
It declared that the programme had the objectives to increase agricultural production towards food security, job creation and economic diversification.
The CBN plans to achieve this by promoting Nigeria’s food security in each state by regular engagement of stakeholders across the agriculture sector.
The guidelines listed the programme’s objectives as “collaboration among state governments, the CBN and relevant other stakeholders to create jobs in the agricultural sector, with strong focus on crops where states have a comparative advantage, and provision of short- and medium-term funding windows for the implementation of the scheme.
“The state government will be in-charge of mobilizing and clustering prospective young farmers with representation from all Senatorial Zone.
“Participating Financial institutions (PFIs), the facilitator of the program, will handle the function of disbursing the fund to beneficiaries.”
The CBN further stated that the PFIs “shall conduct due diligence in account opening and credit appraisal, access funds from the CBN for on-financing to eligible entrepreneurs, ensure that payments are made directly to vendors in respect of equipment to be acquired with the purchased facility and the PFI takes lien on such assets.”
“The PFIs shall purchase the inputs for on-selling to the beneficiaries, using CBN approved non-interest financing contract of Murabaha, Istisna’, etc at an all-inclusive rate of return of 9% p.a. For the financing of labour, the PFI shall use Service Ijarah or any other appropriate CBN approved contract for NIFIs with the same all-inclusive rate of return of nine per cent.”
Meanwhile, Agriculture beneficiaries are expected to sign an undertaking to abide by the terms of agreement of the scheme.