Bank of Agriculture to be re-structured

Sekinat Salam-Opebiyi in Abeokuta

The Nigerian government will soon restructure the Bank of Agriculture, towards the better assistance of farmers.

The step is to help the bank in performing its primary responsibilities of boosting agricultural production in the nation.

The governor of Central Bank, Mr Godwin Emefiele said this in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital while on a facility tour by the Presidential Task Force on Agricultural Commodity and Production to the south west state.

Mr Emefiele said that the Apex Bank would also streamline logistics and mechanisms to ease access to funds for the development of the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, SMEs.

The governor of the Apex Bank explained that of the N220bn earmarked for farmers under its Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme in 2014, only about 80 billion naira had been accessed so far.

He assured that the Apex Bank would ensure that small holder farmers also benefitted from its anchor borrower scheme through the micro, small and medium enterprise.

Other members of the team are the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Audu Ogbeh and the chairman of the task force, who is also the governor of Kebbi State, Mr Atiku Bagudu.

Mr Emefiele stressed the need to revive agriculture as the strength of the nation’s economy, and that each state of the federation had been mandated to improve on agricultural potentials in their areas.

He said, “the Federal Ministry of Agriculture is also working towards ensuring that the Bank of Agriculture is properly restructured so that they can perform the responsibilities that they have been given under the law to boost agricultural production in the nation. There is no other place to run to but it’s just going back to farm according to Mr President and then improving agricultural potentials of this nation.

For us to go round the entire federation, not just about rice, tomatoes, millet but also about even coming down south. What can we do to resuscitate some of our age-long agricultural potentials?

The Apex Bank boss added that ‘’when we find a state that is serious, we will disburse the Agricultural credit scheme that is with us.’’

Importation

The Minister for Agriculture, Mr Audu Ogbeh said that the Nigerian government was ready to partner with states towards enhancing its Agricultural productivity.

Mr Ogbeh stressed that no nation could survive only on importation.

He said that importation of everything had practically destroyed the Nigeria’s economic growth, saying that wealth creation among the youths remained one of the ways to recover the economy.

The minister added that “for too long, Nigeria has depended on importing. We’ve almost destroyed our nation, and only the elite are guilty. It’s time to get back to work, create wealth, especially for younger people.”

According to the minister ‘’Agriculture is important for you, younger people. Migrating to Europe is not the answer. The conditions there are worse. Many Nigerians who go Brazil, China end up in prisons. Not long ago, a Nigerian was killed on the streets of New Delhi for pushing a wheel barrow. The people said he was taking their job.

We can grow the fish, maize, produce our chicken, cattle; we can export to every corner of this world simply by organizing ourselves.

The Nigerian Government has no farm; the farms are in the state and the states belong to the farmers who are doing the real work. So, this is exciting and promising and I assure you from now on, there is only one way forward for economic recovery: agriculture, agriculture, agriculture and anything else can follow.”

The chairman of the Presidential Task Force, Atiku Bagudu commended the Ogun state government for focusing on Agriculture as well as Infrastructural Development.

The host governor, Ibikunle Amosun asked for more funds for cooperatives societies in the Agricultural sector to grow the state’s economy.

Amosun assured that any fund given would be use judiciously by the farmers.

Earlier, the Presidential task force were taken round some farm settlements in the state which includes a fish farm settlement, a greenhouse farm and another farm settlement among others across the state.