The Bank of Agriculture has appealed to governors in the South-East to revitalize the moribund oil palm plantations and processing plants in the zone to enable them to diversify and grow the economy of the zone.
Kabiru Mohammed, managing director Bank of Agriculture, who made the appeal while speaking in Enugu, said the bank had injected N9.08 billion into the South East to stimulate agriculture in line with programs of the Federal Government.
He said that such agencies are like the Ada Palm in Imo, Okomu Oil as well as the Imo Rubber and National Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) that had a relationship with the bank.
“As the leading Agricultural Development Finance Institution in Nigeria, the bank is ready to offer its expertise, experience, and technical capabilities to support the region in its quest for diversification,” he noted.
According to the Managing Director, the move was part of efforts to diversify the economy and attain food security in Nigeria.
Mohammed said that the bank had the mandate of providing agricultural credit and non-agricultural micro-credit with a view to curbing poverty.
He, however, said that the amount so far disbursed in the zone fell below the expected target for the region, considering the abundant opportunities in the area.
“Our bank and its stakeholders are making concerted efforts to curb all known challenges to agro-entrepreneurship to widen the space for more participation,” he said.
He noted that most of their banks credit facilities are directed at women whom he said had suffered from neglect, chronic under-investment, and regional protectionism.
“We know that lots of women in the rural areas are involved in agriculture, but presently not being taken care of. They are poorly served by infrastructure, financial systems, scientific innovations or access to market and the results are reflected in poor levels of productivity”, he said, pointing out that their intention was to make sure activities extend to them.
The managing director further said that with the effects of climate change and expected upsurge in the country’s population in the year 2050, “all hands must be on deck to help safeguard the future of
According to him, the bank desired to partner with state governments in the zone with a view to exploiting the huge potentials in the area.
“South East is blessed with good land for the cultivation of tree crops like oil palm, rubber, cashew, roots and tuber crops with abundant water bodies capable of sustaining viable aquaculture,” he said.
The Executive Director of the Bank, Gabriel Okenwa commended efforts of the Federal Government through the Ministry of Agriculture.
Listing the amount of money received by each state, Okenwa said: Abia State got N1.451 billion; Anambra N3.304 billion; Ebonyi N577.888million, Enugu N1.703 billion and Imo State N2.048 billion.