Nigerian banks are not agric friendly - Audu Ogbeh
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.