The Bank of Agriculture (BOA) says it is ready to provide financial and other support services for farmers and youths in the country to boost food production through mechanised farming system.The Executive Director of the bank, Mr Babatunde Igun said this during a courtesy visit to Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi on Thursday in Ile-Ife.
Igun, said the bank was also ready to collaborate with Ooni on youths engagement in mechanised farming.
He said with the dwindling effects of crude oil price on the nation’s economy, there was urgent need to assist farmers and youths towards economy diversification through mechanised farming.
“We have all seen the dwindling effects of crude oil price on our economy in the last one or two years.
” We need to feed ourselves, stop importation of unnecessary food items and that is why BOA is relevant.
“We are ready to assist farmers as well as youths for them to back to farm and our plan is not for them to go back to hoes and cutlasses farming but rather mechanised farming system.
” And I believe with the assistance BOA is ready to give, in the next few years our agriculture system will begin to take a new shape”.
Igun also said that the bank was ready to partner with Ooni’s agriculture development initiative for the youths in the town.
He said BOA would also assist 150 youths who were been trained by Ooni on agriculture mechanisation with loan facility.
“The most important thing for anyone going to agriculture is skill acquisition.
” And that is where Ooni has played a dominant role by bringing 150 youths together in the last four months to train them in agriculture mechanisation.
“And that is why we are interested in giving them loan after their training.
” In BOA, once we see an organisation, state or individual that is passionate about youths, women and agriculture, we try to come to them and find a way we can collaborate”.
Igun added that more than 400 farmers had been empowered in Ile-Ife with N500 million loan facility in the last few years, adding that the bank was ready to do more.
In his remarks, Oba Ogunwusi said he was ready to partner with the bank in encouraging youths in food production.
Oba Ogunwusi who noted that there are many idle youths in the country, said government and private sectors must be willing to assist youths to go back to farm.
The Ooni also urged the BOA management to make their presence more visible in the country by providing loan to farmers.
“If BOA can be used as a proper conduit in terms of giving soft loan on a long time basis, it will encourage the youths to go back to farm”