Members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture have blamed inadequate funding of the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) for its poor performance and attendant meager agricultural output of famers in the country.
Chairman of the committee, Abdullahi Adamu, called on the Federal Government to provide the necessary funds to the BOA to perform its statutory functions of extending loans to farmers in order to boost agriculture in Nigeria.
Adamu lamented that other countries like Brazil, Indonesia and Malaysia that established similar Agricultural Banks in the last 40 years have left Nigeria behind because of the consistency in funding and loan disbursements to farmers, with robust monitoring programmes.
He also stressed that the policies of loan disbursement to Nigerian farmers by the officials of BOA have been hampered by series of interventions from government quarters, which further made loan recovery near impossibility.
According to him, “Unless the bank gets proper funding, farmers cannot benefit from any programme to bring growth and development. As such, we have a responsibility as a government and a country to develop this Agricultural Bank.”.
He added that on their part, they will come out in a unique way to address the problem. “If it needs us going to Mr. President, we will. We assure you that he will have our report on this bank.
“Changing management, the name of the Bank and nomenclature will not lead you anywhere and cannot improve your situation. We started with Brazil, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Today, all these countries have left us behind and they have gone ahead of us. Something must be done. As it is now, you are suffering double jeopardy which is not of your making,” Adamu said.
Managing Director of BOA, Kabir Adamu Mohammed, earlier said that the Bank has keyed into Federal Government’s programmes, including the Central Bank’s (CBN) Anchor Borrower Scheme for farmers, in order to boost agriculture in the country.
Mohammed said: “This is in support of the government’s agenda on food security, employment generation and import substitution. Lessons learnt from the pilot scheme in Kebbi State have been reviewed to ensure that the bank continues to deliver measureable value in supporting the objectives of the programme leveraging on its branch network, agribusiness expertise and extension capability.”
He also listed the challenges of the Agricultural banking institution, which included funding, failure of the shareholders to pay their equity contributions, weak capital base, lack of lending resources, and high non-performing loans.