… Says FG kept faith on rice
Stories by Steve Agbota [email protected] 08033302331
Although agriculture was up against diverse obstacles in 2016, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has expressed its determination to ride out the storm in 2017 by embarking on many ambitious projects.
This viewpoint was made known by the Minister, Chief Audu Ogbeh, at the inauguration of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) steering committee on the restructuring and re-capitalisation of the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) and the Project Delivery Team.
According to him, “the aim is to make sure that we embark on these major projects. So, agriculture continues to be an all-year-round activity. And we too can continue to provide fresh food.”
He added: “In the interim, our biggest achievement last year has been that we were able to put the Nigerian rice on dining tables for Christmas and Nigerians are now discovering that their own rice is actually better than what they have been eating from outside. We believe that, by the end of this year, it should no longer be necessary for us to have to ban rice. It would be an automatic selection by Nigerians.
“I thank the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for his intervention in the Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme,” the Minister added.
He, however, encouraged the CBN Governor to continue to do so until the BoA is strong enough to take on the responsibility at affordable interest rates, and yet meeting its banking obligations.
Speaking on recapitalising BoA, Ogbeh hinted at restructuring, reduction of interest rates, lending at single digits and building an agric bank that would automatically double, not only as an agricultural bank, but also as some kind of community bank, found in all villages and farming communities.
He stressed that there are fresh efforts by government towards fertiliser production and supply, bringing in the youth and on mechanisation, more tractors, more harvesters, to ease the burden on agriculture, so it can become a hobby for many, instead of the drudgery.
He called on the public to note the essence of the Federal Government’s decision to embark on the strategic step in the BoA revamp process. He said first, the Vice President and Chairman of NCP recently approved the proposed restructuring and recapitalisation strategy to revitalise the operations of BoA.
According to Ogbeh, “this approach is aimed at revitalising the operations of BoA to make it more responsive to its mandate of serving as a veritable platform for providing loans to MSMEs, rural farmers and cooperatives, agro-allied industries, among others. This will enable them to meet the huge demand for agricultural produce for local consumption and exports.”
He added: “it is expected to integrate into the evolving commodity exchange programme that is currently undergoing a revamp process. This approach was preferred by the FGN as a pre-privatisation strategy to pave way for injection of financial and other requisite resources into the bank, also to future privatisation as approved as approved in 2013 by the national council on privatisation.”
Tracing the history of the Bank of Agriculture, the Minister pointed out that “it is noteworthy that, in its over 20 years of existence, the BoA has faced a myriad of challenges, which include poor funding, poor stakeholder buy-in, particularly by FGN agencies, and erosion of stakeholder funds, especially with bad debts. People have borrowed money from this bank in the past and many have either failed or refused to pay.”
Dizengoff Nigeria partners Case IH on agric equipment
Dizengoff Nigeria, leading agricultural solution provider, has announced an international partnership with CASE IH, a global leader in agricultural equipment manufacturing.
The CEO/Country Manager of Dizengoff Nigeria, Mr. Antti Ritvonen, who made the announcement at a press conference in Lagos, said, “we are very excited to be partnering Case IH in the area of providing quality tractors to Nigerian farmers, as we intend to improve farming substantially as well as revolutionise the Nigerian agricultural sector through mechanisation.”
Accoding to him, for Nigeria to achieve self-sufficiency in food production, farmers need to embrace mechanisation in their farming activities. He said a lot of farmers today in Nigeria still depend on hand tools such as hoes and cutlasses, which are time consuming, laborious and very inefficient.
He added: “We believe this partnership is very important to Nigerian farmers, as it will impact positively on their production. We are committed to selling the most reliable and productive agricultural equipment solutions available.”
Also speaking at the event, the Commercial Manager, Tractor and Implement, Mr. Damisa Enahoro, said, “without doubt, mechanisation is the solution every farmer will need to improve production and eliminate loss of time. Nigeria has the potential of becoming the food basket of Africa, and mechanisation is key to achieving it. This will invariably stimulate the overall economy of Nigeria.”
Damisa explained that the partnership would enable Dizengoff to get all its technicians and service team trained by CASE IH with the sole aim of providing a robust after-sales support to its customers.
Case IH is a global player with a long-established reputation for powerful, highly productive agricultural equipment and an incomparable heritage of leadership, innovation and reliability, built since its foundation in 1842 in Racine (USA).
Through its partnership with CASE IH, Dizengoff sells and supports its full range of tractors, including the JX and JXT Series of all- purpose machines ranging from 75 to 125 hp and further. Both Series are well-suited for the Nigerian farmers looking for small, maneuverable, highly versatile tractors they can use for soil preparation, to operate implements and pull trailers, as well as for transport.
Case IH product offering also includes medium and high horsepower tractors, the world-renowned Axial-Flow combine harvesters, balers, and a complete line of specialized equipment such as the most advanced sugar cane harvesters and cotton pickers available in the market.
Dizengoff Nigeria is a member of the Balton CP Group UK, with presence in Sub-Saharan Africa (Ghana, Kenya, Zambia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopian and Nigeria). In Nigeria, the company was established in 1958, making it 59 years of operations in Nigeria. Dizengoff has 2 major divisions; Agriculture and Communications Technology.