Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has identified the development of agriculture as a fast poverty-reduction strategy for Nigeria with vast arable lands.
“If we really want to rise above the poverty line, the way to do that is through agriculture. There is a need for renewed focus on agriculture and agro processing,” AbdulRazaq told board members of the of Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund who visited him in Ilorin.
“Kwara is located in a part of Nigeria where the land is arable. We hope to make you our partner in progress (to drive agricultural growth). We hope to work with you immediately,” he assured the visitors even as he suggested better enlightenment on the activities of various government initiatives to support agriculture, saying not many people are aware of the opportunities that are available with the scheme.
AbdulRazaq also said the state government plans to pursue several developmental initiatives through the Public Private Partnership.
Chairman of the board, Okokon Udo, said the scheme encourages banks to lend to farmers by providing guarantee for loans for crops and livestock production and processing.
“It mitigates risks associated with banks’ lending to agriculture through formal assurance to pay banks 75.0 percent of the net amount in default in accordance with the provisions of the enabling Act,” Udo said.
He said while Kwara is third with the highest number of loans from the scheme, there is a need to further enlighten the public on the advantages of accessing the facilities to “empower themselves and enhance their agricultural activities and income-earning capacity.”