Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Nigeria: FCTA Farmers Benefit From N500 Million Agricultural Loans

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) says it has disbursed over N500 million to farmers under the agriculture loan scheme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as part of measures to boost agriculture development and food supply in the territory.

The FCTA said it has also entered into a public private partnership agreement with an Israeli Firm, SEC Equipment, to build an Agriculture Services and Training Centre in Abuja.

Minister of State for FCT, Olajumoke Akinjide, told the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Bank of Agriculture, Mohammed Santuraki, that the FCT Administration had keyed into President Goodluck Jonathan's Agricultural Transformation Agenda aimed at revamping the agriculture business and ensuring food security in the country.

"Agriculture is one of the cornerstones of the President's Transformation Agenda. The Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GES) is one of the key initiatives under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) aimed at diversifying the economy and enhancing foreign exchange earnings," she said.

"The ultimate goal of the scheme is to ensure that agriculture is practiced as lucrative commercial enterprise that is not only sustainable but also attractive to our youths and women. The FCTA is committed to the development of viable agricultural entrepreneurship through provision of free technical expertise and farm subsidies," the minister added.

Mrs Akinjide, who noted that the FCTA would partner with the Bank of Agriculture to grow the agriculture sector in the FCT, said the Agriculture Services and Training Centre, when completed and operational, would become a one-stop agriculture centre in Nigeria.

The Centre, she said, would be a dedicated facility to support farmers, adding that it would consist of a training centre, extension services department, irrigation and laboratory for soil test, among other agriculture and allied facilities, while about 170,000 farming families had registered in the FCT.

The BOA Managing Director, Mohammed Santuraki, explained that the visit by the management team was to strengthen the collaboration between the bank and the FCT Administration in the areas of agricultural financing for the benefit of farmers and agribusiness entrepreneurs in the FCT.

"We have noted the giant strides that the Administration is taking to build a virile economy in FCT using agriculture as the foundation. Your effort is most appropriate at this time in the history of Nigeria when agriculture is occupying an important place in the Federal Government's Transformation Agenda," Mr. Santuraki said.

He confirmed that the BOA had granted agriculture loans of over N50 billion to support the agribusiness in the last 10 years, adding that the Bank had created 6,000 enterprises and six million direct and indirect jobs during the period.

"In the last couple of years, we have repositioned the Bank to make it even more impactful and financially sustainable. As part of our reform agenda, we have chosen to create alliances with State Governments and other domain stakeholders.

"The BOA is in a better position to manage funds earmarked by FCT Administration for agricultural development and poverty alleviation in the FCT," Mr Santuraki stated.


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