Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose has appealed to financial Institutions in the State to emulate the Bank of Agriculture by investing massively in virile and purposeful Agriculture through the provision of soft loan with low interest rate to farmers in the State.
The Governor gave the appeal at the inauguration of the Joint Technical Committee on collaboration Between Ekiti and Bank of Agriculture in Ado- Ekiti.
Mr. Fayose who was represented by his Deputy, Dr Kolapo Olusola said that his government has discovered the potentials in agriculture to address the challenges of unemployment as well as creating a strong revenue base for sustainable socio – economic development of the State.
He said that it was imperative of the government to set up the committee, drawn from the Ministry of Agriculture, Justice, Budget and the Bank of Agriculture, to monitor loans given to farmers to enhance judicious use.
Mr. Fayose said the continued dependent on revenue from the oil has had devastating effects on the nation’s economy which calls for a diversified economy that is agriculture – based.
The Governor assured the financial Institution that every loan release to farmers in the State would be fully redeemed, calling on the committee members to discharge their duties conscientiously to enhance agricultural transformation in the State.
In his welcome address, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Kehinde Odebunmi said the collaboration was designed to assist farmers establish arable crops, permanent crops and livestock on their own land and environment.
Hon. Odebunmi who said that, the Joint Technical committee was needed to review the implementation of the existing collaboration for possible improvement and innovations.
He said that the collaboration of the State with the bank was based on a N600 Million loan to be provided to Ekiti state farmers by the bank with cash collateral of 50% from the State government
According to the Commissioner, government has provided N50 Million which has prompted the bank to commence the disbursement of a sum of N100 Million of which a total sum of N69, 535,000.00 only was disbursed to 643 farmers in 2014/2015 farming season, through the 3
Branches of the bank in Ado, Ijero and Igogo Ekiti.
In his own comment, the bank’s Zonal Manager for South West, Mr. Blackman Shittu said that the committee was desired to review the terms of reference of the programme thoroughly for a better performance of the existing programme.