As government moves to reposition Agriculture as an alternative foreign exchange earner to crude oil, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) have struck a partnership to deepen public sensitization on the Anchor Borrowers policy for better results in the sector.
Director General of NOA, Dr. Garba Abari during a working visit to BOA said government had shown the necessary political will to reposition Agriculture through its policy direction in the sector, adding that both institutions have the relevant platforms to reposition Agriculture and make widespread impact in the country.
He however stressed the need for robust public enlightenment on the various government policies if the policies are to be effectively implemented, pledging to utilize NOA’s platforms across the country to sensitize Nigerians, especially small holder farmers, on the scope and workings of the Anchor Borrowers programme with a view to improving their loan repayment rates.
While commending the patriotism of the BOA management team in answering the call to national service despite its inconveniences, Abari called on all Nigerians to contribute their quota towards speedy development of the agricultural sector. “For a country whose glory used to be in Agriculture, we have no other way out of our economic challenges other than running Agriculture as a big business for income generation, food sustainability and global competitiveness”, he said.
The BOA, Managing Director, Kabir Adamu had observed that the programme which targets small holder farmers with agricultural loan and inputs was confronted with non-performing loans which he ascribed to poor understanding of the programme by farmers. He stressed that the loans to farmers were not gifts, hence the need for them to repay in order to facilitate access to loans by other farmers, noting however, that BOA non-performing loans were below 10 percent, better than the Central Bank of Nigeria standard of 70 percent.
He disclosed that the bank hopes to register 15 million farmers in the coming two years and was therefore partnering with relevant agencies to open branches in all Local Government Areas to ensure it meets the target. He appealed to corporate Nigeria to partner with the bank in the area of funding in line with global best practices and in the spirit of patriotism.