The Bank of Agriculture, BOA, and the Nigeria Cassava Growers Association, NCGA, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, for financing of cultivation of 60, 000 hectares of cassava in Nigeria.
Vanguard gathered that about ₦4.1billion is committed to the project that will benefit not less than 20,000 cassava farmers. The MoU was supervised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in Abuja, the former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said Nigeria has increased its dry cassava chips export to China to three millions metric tonnes.
According to him, facility that will assist the production of cassava chips would be cited in all the six geo-political zones of the country, including Kwara, Oyo, Enugu, Taraba, Delta and Nassarawa states.
He further noted that agriculture as a business has to move from primitive stage to mechanized one, adding that government is ready to do all it could to add value to it, while commending NCGA for throwing its weight behind the policy of the present administration on agriculture.
Also, it was disclosed that the government would reposition the BOA by jacking up its capital base to be able to cater for the need of the Nigerian farmers.
Signing on behalf of the Bank of Agriculture, the Managing Director of BOA, Dr Mohammed Santuraki, said to ensure easy access to credit facility by farmers, the bank has worked out modalities that are less cumbersome for farmers to meet in line with several meetings held by the two parties.
He said ‘We have both agreed on modalities for members of NCGA to access credit facility in the Bank of Agriculture through mutually benefiting partnership and collaborations. In line with resolutions taken at the various meetings, the bank has worked out appropriate loan processing procedures that will ensure smooth and timely packaging of loans under this initiative, so long as applicants do the necessary to meet the bank’s lending requirements’.
Represented by Mallam Waziri Ahmadu, the BOA Boss charged NCGA to screen its members as agreed for the bank to know the number of farmers that are eligible to take loan, stating that they are open for any partnership that will improve the live of the Nigerian farmers.
‘Not long after this signing ceremony, the bank expects NCGA to screen its members and then forward to it, list of its members that are eligible to access our loans. When this happens, the bank will begin processing of all applications endorsed to it by the association.
‘The door of the bank is open for collaboration loan schemes and other schemes that are geared towards improving the lives and standard of living of the Nigerian populace particularly the less privileged in the society, through agriculture’, Santuraki added.
On his part, the National President of NCGA, Pastor Segun Adewumi described the MoU as ‘the first of its kind in Nigeria, where a body of farmers designed her programme and the programme received the approval of the government and the bank’.