The National Orientation Agency (NOA) says it is partnering with the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) to deepen public sensitisation on the Anchor Borrowers policy for better results in the sector.
Dr Garba Abari, the Director-General of NOA, made this known during a working visit to BOA in Abuja.
He said that government had shown political will to reposition agriculture through its policy direction in the sector, adding that both institutions had the platforms to reposition agriculture and make impact in the country.
He however stressed the need for robust public enlightenment on the various government policies if they were to be effectively implemented and pledged to utilise NOA’s platforms across the country to sensitise Nigerians.
He said that especially with smallholder farmers on the scope and workings of the Anchor Borrowers programme with a view to improving their loan repayment rates.
Abari urged all Nigerians to contribute their quota toward speedy development of the agricultural sector.
“For a country whose glory used to be in agriculture, we have no other way out of our economic challenges other than running agriculture as a big business. This will enhance income generation, food sustainability and global competitiveness,’’ Abari said.
Mr Kabir Adamu, the Managing Director, BOA, said that the programme, which targets smallholder farmers with agricultural loan and input was confronted with non-performing loans.
He said that this was because of poor understanding of the programme by farmers, adding that the loans to farmers were not gifts hence the need for them to repay to facilitate access to loans by other farmers.
He noted that BOA non-performing loans were below 10 per cent better than the CBN standard of 70 per cent.
Adamu disclosed that the bank hoped to register 15 million farmers in the coming two years and was therefore partnering with relevant agencies to open branches in all Local Government Areas to meet the target.
He appealed to corporate Nigerians to partner with the bank in the area of funding in line with global best practices and in the spirit of patriotism.