The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved N3.38 billion Africa Development Bank (ADB) loan for cultivation of potatoes in Plateau State.
The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of the FEC meeting chaired by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to her, the state government will also contribute N595 million counterparts funding.
The minister said about 60,000 jobs would be created from the potatoes value chain, adding that 17 local government areas in the state would benefit from the project.
She said a strong monitoring team would be in place to ensure the loan is judiciously utilized.
Adeosun said the loan has five years moratorium and 25 years repayment period.
She said: “My approval was on behalf of Plateau State to support the potato value chain. There is a loan that we had previously cancelled from ADB. So, it is not a new loan. We cancelled it and redirected the money to request on behalf of Plateau State Government to support the potato value chain.
“The rationale is that Plateau actually accounts for 95 per cent of Nigeria’s potato production and from Plateau, potatoes are actually exported to Ghana, Niger, Chad and other countries and despite that, there are huge profit losses because there are no enough storage facilities and there is so much more we can do with Plateau’s potatoes.
“So, ADB has come up with a comprehensive programme that would affect over 100,000 families. It is expected to create 60,000 jobs in a potato value chain, from processing, storage, replacement of current inputs and indeed, exportation,” she added.