The Bank of Agriculture, BOA, has disbursed more than N21.5 billion to farmers nationwide in an empowerment initiative involving no fewer than 107,200 households.
Idiat Folorunsho, the Zonal Manager, South West Region, Bank of Agriculture, BOA, made the disclosure at the Ooni Ogunwusi Agric-empowerment Programme in Ile-Ife.
Mrs. Folorunsho said that dwindling oil revenue had forced a rethink in strategy in favour of agribusiness
She noted that BOA had taken necessary steps through deliberate policies and special programmes to galvanise the agriculture sector and engender the development of agribusinesses.
She also stressed that the bank was always ready to produce young farmer entrepreneurs to assist in food production and to make the nation be self-reliant in all agricultural products.
She also said N40 billion had been set aside as a special purpose vehicle to ensure proper implementation of the programme to farmers nationwide.
Mrs. Folorunsho said the bank’s Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) involves the anchor providing some degree of support through the supply of inputs and technical advice to farmers.
She equally noted that all projects were being adequately taken care of with supplies of inputs to farmers after training.
She expressed the belief that a vibrant agro-industrial value chain in the agriculture sector would serve as a springboard for the growth of the manufacturing sector.
Agribusiness, she said, was expected to serve as a rallying point for rejuvenation while ABP was intended to create an ecosystem to link out-growers (small holder farmers) to local processors.
She stated further that this would increase banks’ financing to the sector, increase capacity of anchor companies involved in rice production and increase the productivity and incomes of out-growers.
The epoch making event witnessed the presentation of cheques to the representatives of the hundreds of youth who were the beneficiaries of Ooni Ogunwusi Agric-empowerment programme.
The programme was being held in partnership with BOA, which was represented at the forum, by its Deputy Managing Director, Adebayo Jemileyin.