The Federal Government has said it would recapitalise the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) with N1 trillion to enable farmers have access to funds at affordable interest rate.
The Minister of State for Agriculture, Heineken Lokpobiri speaking at the inaugural harvest of a Tillapia fish farm of Premium Aquaculture Limited, Oyan Dam in Abeokuta yesterday, lamented that funding remained the biggest challenge to farmers in the country.
He lamented that commercial banks were not ready to fund agriculture, hence government decision to recapitalise BoA for the bank to fund agriculture. According to Lokpobiri, the nation’s fish demand stands at 3.1 metric tonnes per annum but currently hovers around 1.1 metric tonnes per annum, leaving a deficit of 2.1 metric tonnes.
He stated that the government resorted to backward integration to encourage local fish farmers and bridge the gap between demand and supply.
Lokpobiri explained that when the administration came on board, the supply was around 800,000 metric tonnes per annum, but due to government policy on fishery by the ministry of agriculture, the country is now doing 1.1 metric tonnes per annum.
In his remarks, former president Olusegun Obasanjo, who was a guest at the event, said government should create an enabling environment for investors in agriculture to thrive in the country. Obasanjo called on the company to encourage out growers to ease transfer of technology and create employment opportunities for the youth.