Alhaji Garba Mohammed, the Emir of Lere, in Lere Local Government Area, Kaduna state has urged Nigerians to focus more on the agricultural sector for the country’s sustained economic growth.
The emir stated this on Wednesday during the inauguration of a new branch of the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and disbursement of loans to women groups in the area.
“Given all the needed support, Kaduna state alone has the capacity to feed the whole of Nigeria.
The emir lauded the Federal Government for refocusing on the agriculture sector and considering it one of the best ways to go to diversify the Nigerian economy.
“We are happy that the Federal Government has prioritised agriculture.
“And this is the bank the government is using to develop the agricultural sector.
“That is why we want the bank to be close to us and we are happy that today we are opening the bank’s branch in our community.
“We are going to use this bank for the development of our people and our land through agriculture.
“We have the capacity to prosper our land – Kaduna state – and save Nigeria from food importation, especially maize and sugarcane.
“Even when we were not accessing the loan, our farmers were the highest producers in the whole of Kaduna state and they used the monies made from sales to pay for pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.
“The return of BOA will definitely strengthen us and encourage us to do far better (than before) because we will be getting a lot of farm machinery and improved seedlings through the bank.
“We have discovered that agriculture is truly the best sector to choose for economic diversification because that is where the real wealth is, not in the civil service, politics, or any other sector that people are running to.
“Therefore, Nigeria must focus on the agricultural sector if we truly want development.
“We must stand firm on this to achieve the desired economic prosperity,“ the emir said.
Earlier, Dr Kabiru Adamu, the Managing Director of the bank, said the loan was in line with the Federal Government’s commitment to boosting agricultural production and eliminating food importation.
Adamu, represented by the bank’s General Manager, Corporate Services Division, Mohammed Babangida, said that with the new office in Lere area council, the bank now had eight branches in Kaduna state alone.
He gave an assurance that the bank would bring relief to bear on farmers in the area as accessing loan would be achieved without having to travel far distances.
Adamu said that the scheme was a revolving fund and the bank had taken adequate measures to ensure that beneficiaries, mostly women, repaid the loan in good time for others to take advantage of.
At least 60 women made up of 10 farmers’ cooperative groups received cheques of N300, 000 loan each.
A beneficiary, Ruth Joe, who spoke on behalf of others, commended the bank for opening the branch, saying that women and youths farmers would benefit immensely from what it had to offer.
“We used to travel to Ikara Local Government Area or even to Kaduna to access farming loans. But with one of the bank’s branches here now, this will help us immensely to scale up production and other small businesses.
“We thank God and the bank’s management for the establishment of the branch,” she said.