No fewer than three hundred thousand farmers are to access loans from the Bank of Industry for farm products processing and from Stanbic IBTC Bank for its agricultural Small and Medium Scale Enterprises investment Scheme in the South geo-political zone of Nigeria.
Briefing Newsmen in Makurdi the Benue State capital North Central Nigeria, the National President of United Farm Products Traders Association, Shima Isaac said that the South geo-political zone was next after the South East owing to it’s viability.
Mr. Shima expressed the association’s readiness to ensure that the zone does not only harness its agricultural potentials in the growth of the Nigerian economy but also embrace it far above petroleum.
He said the Association of United Farm Products Traders and Livestocks Dealers of Nigeria “is preparing her members from the South geopolitical Zone of Nigeria on a two day workshop to be held in Benin City, Edo state on how best they could utilize the loans”.
According to him, “if the South would embrace agriculture, Nigeria would be on the verge of industralization” which he noted remains the cardinal objective of the Association.
The Farmers Union President emphasized that it was the solemn desire of the association that all farmers are prepared through training and facilitated to enable them feed Nigeria and the world in the near future.
He expressed gratitude to President Muhamadu Buhari for the initiative which has provided incentives for farmers, adding that the policy was surely going to enable Nigerian farmers bid farewell to poverty, if sustained.
In his remarks during the media chat, National Director, Media and Publicity of the Association, Mr. Timothy Hembaor maintained that already, the Association was in collaboration with the Bank of Industry and Stanbic IBTC Bank as well as other financial institutions.
According to him, other collaborative bodies working with the Association were the West African Agricultural Program, The Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Development of Nigeria (SMEDAN), and the Nigerian Incentives-Based Risks Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).
Others are the National Quarantine Service (NAQS), Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) as well as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
South South Coordinator of the Association, Mr. Godwin Obasi expressed the readiness of the zone to participate in the training program.