Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, has stressed the need for financial institutions in the country to rise up to the challenge of agriculture financing in order to achieve economic diversification.
The governor made the call on Wednesday in Asaba at the inauguration of Production and Processing Support Programme (PPSP) under the job and wealth creation scheme of the government.
He explained that if Nigeria would achieve its economic diversification drive, the financial institutions must be ready to finance the agriculture sector.
Okowa also called on Nigerian banks to come up with `robust credit policies’ for agriculture to address credit turn around, recruitment and training of specialist bankers, who would understand the dynamics of agriculture and agribusiness.
He said that despite the fact that agriculture plays crucial role in driving economic development, inadequate funding had continued to be a recurring decimal.
“From available statistics, the bulk of our small-scale farmers regrettably do not have access to credit finance and are, therefore, unable to invest in basic farming inputs such as implements, seedlings and fertilisers.
“As a result, farm yields have remained abysmally low, leading to widespread poverty and stunted economic growth,’’ Okowa said.
To restore agriculture to its pride of place in the Nigerian economy, the governor submitted that the issue agriculture financing must be addressed.
He expressed confidence that the state would transform its agriculture sector and stimulate development in all sectors through the production and processing support programme.
Okowa explained that PPSP was conceived to help the state overcome the problem of resource scarcity, poor technology and infrastructure deficits.
In his remark, Prof. Eric Eboh, Job Creation Officer, said that PPSP was aimed at increasing productivity and income, create jobs and wealth and ensure prosperity for the people.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governor presented cheques ranging from N2 million to N10 million to different cooperative groups at the event.
He also presented tractors and other farm implements to various farmer-based cooperative societies that graced the inauguration. (NAN)

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