Nige­rian banks are not agric friendly - Audu Og­beh

Daily Trust - - NEWS -

A min­is­ter-des­ig­nate and front­line farmer, Chief Audu Og­beh, said yes­ter­day that com­mer­cial banks in Nige­ria have not been friendly to the agri­cul­tural sec­tor over the years.

Chief Og­beh made the dis­clo­sure at the just con­cluded 1st Daily Trust Agri­cul­ture Con­fer­ence and Ex­hi­bi­tion in Abuja.

“Our banks are not friendly to agri­cul­ture. Some of the banks know next to noth­ing about agri­cul­ture. Let’s be hon­est. The banks should be asked to be a lit­tle bit sym­pa­thetic to the farm­ers,” he noted.

The APC chieftain cited the in­stance of the Com­mer­cial Agri­cul­ture Credit Scheme where many farm­ers in­clud­ing him­self ap­plied but could not get the loan be­cause of banks ap­a­thy and po­lit­i­cal un­der­tones.

“They said we were po­lit­i­cally ex­posed but oth­ers that were also po­lit­i­cally ex­posed got be­tween N4-5 bil­lion and di­verted it to ho­tel and other busi­nesses. If this hap­pened to me what of the small scale farm­ers? Og­beh queried.

Chief Og­beh who said that many peo­ple think agri­cul­ture is for the failed, lamented lack of in­vest­ment in the agri­cul­tural sec­tor by Nige­ri­ans across the coun­try, say­ing the na­tion will die of hunger if it con­tin­ued like this.

He pointed out that Nige­rian pop­u­la­tion was grow­ing at gal­lop­ing rate and needed to be marched with in­creased food pro­duc­tion for Nige­ri­ans to sur­vive.

Chief Og­beh said that for the coun­try to tackle the chal­lenges fac­ing the sec­tor, agri­cul­tural ex­ten­sion of­fices should be es­tab­lished in ev­ery lo­cal gov­ern­ment area while farmer re-ed­u­ca­tion should be vig­or­ously un­der­taken.

Other mea­sures to be taken to ad­dress the sit­u­a­tion, ac­cord­ing to him, in­clude go­ing back to plantation farm­ing, and proper pack­ag­ing and treat­ment of agri­cul­tural prod­ucts for them to be ac­cept­able in the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket.

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