The Nigerian government has step up the privatization of the Bank of Agriculture, as part of the new initiative to boost the delivery of credit facility to the nation`s players in the agriculture sector.
Under the new arrangement, the bulk of the share- capital holding of the Bank, would be sold to Farmers Associations in the country, while, government would control minority share.
Audu Ogbe, minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, made this disclosure during an interactive session held with stakeholders in the Agriculture sector, at the on-going National Council meeting on Agriculture holding in the commercial city of Kano.
According to the minister, the on-going effort to change the ownership structure of the bank would be implemented under a new road-map for agriculture development conceived by Buhari Administration.
He disclosed that the resolve to change ownership structure of the bank will make it more functional in the government`s effort to deliver credit facility to Nigerian farmers.
Ogbe noted that the major factor hampering the growth and development of agriculture practices in the country was the difficulties farmers do face, while trying to access credit.
In the same vein, the minister said that government has concluded plans in the new farming season to establish grazing reserve for pastoralists engaging in cattle breeding in the country.
He stated that each of the 36 states in the Federation would be directed to provide land which will be acquired by government as grazing reserve in the state, pointing out that the move was one of the ways of ending conflicts between farmers and cattle rearers.
“I am happy to bring to your attention that this government is very determined to change the face of farming in the country, and one of the ways we are going to do this is the privatisation of Bank of Agriculture.
“Although, some of you are saying we are slow in coming out with our interventions in the sector, the reason for the slowness you are talking about has to do with the fact, in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture will only implement actions, it is the states that does the planning.
“However, we are making gains in the area of poultry, and in our efforts to provide grazing reserve for the pastoralists involved in cattle rearing in the country, and our intervention in this regard is to help end the conflict that is occurring between farmers and the cattle rearers.”
“As we know, the largest cattle diary in the world is in Saudi Arabia, a desert country, and this diary has over 135,000 cattle, if a desert country could be home to the largest diary, there is no reason why we cannot do the same,” he explained.
The minister also disclosed that under the agriculture roadmap, the about 90water dams situated across the country, particularly, the 45 of them which are located in Oyo, and Kano states would be put in active use.
He said that his ministry would execute the action plan in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, which is in control of water infrastructure, such as dams, in the country.