The Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, has hinted that the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) will be properly restructured by the Federal Government towards assisting farmers to boost agricultural production in the country and ensure food sufficiency.
He added that if the restructuring is eventually done, it would help the bank to perform its primary responsibilities well.
Emefiele, who was part of the Presidential Task Force on Agriculture, gave the hint on Tuesday, while fielding questions from newsmen at the Odeda Farm Institute, Odeda, during the task force’s inspection of the facilities of the institute and some farm centres in the state.
The Task Force, which included the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, and the Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, was earlier conducted by the state Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, round Eriwe Fish Farm in Ijebu-Ode, Greenhouse Technology Centre, Kotopo in Abeokuta and Owowo Farm Settlement in Ewekoro Local Government Area.
The CBN governor explained that the team was mandated by the President to go round the entire federation on a fact-finding mission on how to resuscitate some of the age-long agricultural potentials of the country.
He added that the President specifically tasked the team to situate how to ensure increase in the production of cassava, maize and resuscitate cocoa production in the South-west, emphasising maize production will support the poultry productivity in the South Western part of the country.
He said: “For us to go round the entire federation, not just about rice, tomatoes, millet, but also about coming down South. What can we do to resuscitate some of our age-long agricultural potential. I see here a dam; I understand there are 11 dams in this state and in this facility, you have the facilities that were developed in the First Republic that have become moribund because they were abandoned.
“But I can assure you that the farm can be resuscitated. We can get nine season farming for maize particularly. And in the South Western part of the country, the mandate the President has given is that for the South West, we must situate how to get back in ensuring that we increase the production of cassava, maize and go back again into cocoa production, so that with maize you can support poultry production in the South Western part of the country.
Emefiele, however, disclosed that CBN, under its Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme, has over N250billion which has not been fully disbursed as well as N220b Micro and Small and Medium Enterprise Loan Scheme, with just N80billion utilised so far.
“We are going to see to how small holder farmers can benefit from our anchor borrower programme through the micro, small and medium enterprise. And for the states, when we find the state that is serious and ready to work with us, we burst the commercial agricultural credit scheme facility that we have because the President has mandated that those who are serious, we must support. That is the essence of this”, The CBN governor added.
Also speaking, Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, noted agriculture remains the only solution to economic recovery adding “we are collecting data and next year budget is a bit more sizeable than before. You will see evidence here very quickly”.