Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development,Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, has said that the repositioning of the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) is non – negotiable as it will improve access to grants to smallholder farmers, boost food production and generate revenue for the country.
The Minister made this known during his familiarisation tour to some Agricultural institutions in Kaduna State at the weekend.
He said that BoA as a development financial institution in the agriculture sector is to provide Agriculture and Rural financing for smallholder farmers.
According to him, “It will simulate improvement in the lives and growth across the farming communities.
The Minister further said that ‘’President, Muhammadu Buhari is very passionate on the need to grow what we eat and eat what we grow so as to de-emphasize unnecessary importation of food which constitutes a drain on our foreign exchange’’.
Abubakar disclosed ongoing plans by the ministry in collaboration with the Central bank of Nigeria to streamline Agricultural Loans to smallholder farmers for proper utilisation and more effective production and efficient services scheme for Nigerian Farmers in the various value Chains.
He pledged that the Ministry under his watch would ensure that the BOA obtained licence to operate maximally and deliver services towards achieving its core objectives and mandate.
Abubakar stated that the diversification agenda of the present Administration is one of the cardinal policies aimed at achieving nutrition and food security, reducing poverty rate and improving the agribusiness in the agricultural sector.
Abubakar reassured of the Federal Government’s commitment in its diversification plan through agriculture, adding that the plan would boost nutrition and food security, increase the local farmers income and create more jobs for Nigerian farmers.
In his remarks, the Acting Managing Director, Bank of Agriculture, Alwan Ali Hassan appealed for the “Completion of the restructuring and recapitalisation of the Bank as approved by the Shareholders on August 18, 2021 especially in the area of engaging the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MoFI) and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the release of the Capital allotted to them” ”
Hassan called for “Write-off of the loan component of the Cassava Bread Initiative Fund and the Agricultural Mechanization Intervention outstanding loan”
He said “repositioning the Bank to achieve its mandate and impact on growth of Agriculture in the country will increase food production and ensure food security while at the same time improve the lives of the farming communities”
In another event, the Minister visited the Federal Cooperative College, Kaduna, where he promised to address the challenges facing the college and to ensure that the institution achieves its mandate.
At the National Soil Fertility Testing Laboratory, Gonin Gora and the Federal College of Agriculture and Animal Science located in Mando, Kaduna where the minister also visited, urged the management and staff of the institutions to remain focus.
He promised that under his leadership, there would be improved manpower training and funds for the various agencies.