The Federal Government has announced the commencement of restructuring of the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) in order to ease credit facilities for Nigerian farmers.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh made the announcement on Thursday during the Ministerial Press Briefing on the celebration of the 2017 World Food Day with the theme “Change the Future of Migration: Invest in Food Security and Rural Development“ in Abuja.
“We have commenced restructuring of the Bank of Agriculture for effective performance on easing credit facilities to agribusiness in the country and to stimulate an increased interest of people in farming as a source of livelihood and income earnings” the Minister stated.
The Minister who decried the high-interest rate on loans by commercial banks explained that the restructuring was necessary to address the challenge of funding agricultural projects in the country, stressing that “We cannot survive 30 years lending money at 25 percent to farmers, how can the economy grow like that.“
Ogbeh said the vision and mission of the ministry include to ensure sustainable access, availability and affordability of quality food for all Nigerians and to be a significant net provider of food to the global community and production of raw materials to meet the needs of the expanding industrial sector.
While highlighting other achievements recorded by the Ministry which included provision of 25 percent input subsidy contribution to 6.5 million farmers under the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme for private managed fertilizer supply for wet season and dry season farming across the various commodity value chains and distribution of over 200 smoking kilns to selected fish markets and fish farmers, the Minister stated that Nigeria is now ranked as the leader in Artisanal fish development in Africa.
He commended Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other development partners who have been very strong partners in the nation’s agricultural sector.
The Minister reiterated the commitment of the present administration to continue initiating potent policies that would transform the agricultural sector “to the level we can feed well, feed cheaply and be independent as a country.”
The Country representative, Food and Agriculture (FAO), Mr Safiya Koroma said the theme for this year World Food Day celebration was highly relevant as over 65 million people all over the world were forcibly displaced from their homes by conflicts, violence and prosecution in 2015.
The FAO Country representative stated that “We shall all reinforce our beliefs that the right to food is a basic human right and achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Programmes SDGs cannot happen with any hunger and without sustainable and resilience climate compatible agriculture and food system that delivers for the people and for the planet.“
He urged world leaders to stand together in solidarity against the act of discrimination and make migration safe, orderly and regular.
During an interview, the National President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Architect Kabiru Ibrahim expressed hope that the 2016-2020 Agricultural Promotion Policy, ”Green Alternative” would ensure food security in the country and called on governments to allow farmers to be part of drivers of any policy in the agricultural sector.
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