Other enterprises benefiting from the fund include poultry, fish farming, groundnuts, and soybeans, while tree crops, sesame, tomato, and livestock productions, which are currently on the drawing board, would be implemented soon.
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, of Bank of Agriculture, Mr. Kabir Adamu, disclosed this at Umuahia, Abia State, during the inauguration ceremony of the 2019 farming season by the bank in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Abia State government.
Adamu, who was represented by the BOA Executive Director, Partnership/Strategy, Professor Gabriel Okenwa, said at the ceremony that BOA “has taken up the challenge to boost local production of food to revive the rural economy, reduce, if not eliminate, the country’s dependence on food imports and expand export earnings.”
According to him, that was in line with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of the government.
He said, “with the huge agricultural potential of over 84 million hectares of land, the abundant water bodies, all-year-round favorable conditions and a variety of agro-ecologies suitable for agriculture, Nigeria is positioned to feed its population and provide for export.”
The state governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, described the inauguration as apt saying, “any state desiring development and sustainable growth must not ignore agriculture. Hence, such a state must embrace agriculture.”
Abia State would take advantage of the BOA location to further boost its efforts in agriculture, he said, adding that “there is no crop that cannot do well in our soil. We have done 90 percent of what ought to be done in poultry cluster production which will engage over 10,000 youths when they come on stream.”
Meanwhile, to effectively regulate the market and make quality seeds more available to farmers, the National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) has said it accredited 314 seed entrepreneurs of various categories across the country.
It also created the seed inspectorate department, inaugurated seed inspectors nationwide, effected migration from visual diagnosis to scientific diagnosis, introduced a seed tracker, electronic authentication of seed quality and created farmers’ helplines.
These were made known by NASC Director-General, Dr Philips Ojo during a one-day sensitisation meeting with seed dealers and farmers in Umuahia, Abia State to educate stakeholders in the seed industry on the do’s and don’ts in seed businesses, check the sale of adulterated seeds to farmers and point out the basic distinguishing features between seeds and grains.
Ojo, who was represented by NASC Director of Seed Inspectorate Department, Mr Agboola Adebayo, also explained that NASC is an agency with the mandate to regulate the seed market.