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Saturday, 3 November 2012

Youths To Benefit from N10b Agribusiness Initiative



Institutes Unveil 40 High-yielding Cassava Varieties
Maku Seeks Improved Funding for Sector
Officials of the bank of Agriculture (BOA) have concluded plans for launch of the Youth Agriculture Business Revolution in Nigeria (YARN) with about N10b.
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Bank, Mohammed Santuraki, made this known at the bank’s head office in Kaduna at the weekend, while receiving members of the House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture, led by its Vice Chairman, Alhaji Manir Baba Dan-agundi.
Meanwhile, Cassava farmers met at the National Root Crop Research Institute (NRCRI) Umudike Umuahia, Abia State, on Friday, for a Cassava Field Day held in collaboration with Alliance for green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment (FMTI), and Harvest Plus (PH).

The major aim of the event, according to NRCRI Executive Director, Dr. Julius Okonkwo, was to acquaint farmers, agro-processors and other stakeholders on potentials of the over 40 new high-yielding cassava varieties developed by NRCRI and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan.
Santuraki pointed out that the bank would partner with state governments and other agencies interested in supporting the project, which is expected to create jobs for 10,000 youths yearly in the next five years.
He told the committee members that about 10,000 women entrepreneurs would also be involved in the agriculture revolution and their contributions are likely to create an additional 1000,000 jobs for Nigerians across the country.
The BOA boss said the bank granted a N5b loan to small-scale farmers this year while over N2b was given as loan to commercial farmers.
In another development, The Minister of Information, Mr. Labran Maku, has stressed need to redefine the nation’s agricultural funding system and put in place policy framework that would support issuance of long term funding to the country’s farmers.
Speaking after an Inspection tour of Shonga farms project being run by Zimbabwean farmers in Kwara State, the minister noted that funding has always been a problem for most farmers in the country. He added that President Jonathan has directed that the nation’s Agricultural development Bank be adequately funded to support cheap credit to farmers.

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