MICRO10Delta State Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa has challenged financial institutions to make the diversification of Nigerian economy a reality by introducing robust credit policies on agriculture.

The Governor made the call today (07/10/15) when he gave out more than 25 tractors and implements to farmers and about thirty million naira to cooperative societies.

The occasion was the inauguration of the Production and Processing Support Programme (PPSP) under the job and wealth creation scheme of his administration.

According to the Governor, “despite the acknowledgement that agriculture plays a crucial role in driving economic development, inadequate funding has, inexplicably, continued to be recurring decimal as 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 fertilizers.”

While noting that due to the challenges of financing, “farm yields have remained abysmally low, leading to widespread poverty and stunted economic growth,” the Governor emphasised, “our financial institutions must rise up to the challenge of agricultural financing if we are serious about economic diversification and self-reliance”.

“The banking sector must come up with robust credit policies in agriculture that will address credit turnaround time, the recruitment and training of specialist bankers who understand the dynamics of agriculture and agribusiness, especially the fact that they are time and season bound.” He added.

The Governor observed that Delta State has not tapped the abundant natural resources, very favourable climatic condition, vast arable land and fertile soil in agribusiness for economic growth, employment creation, import substitution and sustainable development.

He also disclosed that the PPSP was conceived “to help overcome the problems of resource scarcity, poor technology and infrastructure deficit.”

He added that his administration is determined to ensure that Delta State is not only able to feed herself but feed the nation as well. “We will be failing ourselves and the generation coming after us if we are unable to harness the abundant natural resources God has blessed us with and convert it to prosperity for our people.” He observed.

The Governor charged the first set of beneficiaries of the PPSP to apply themselves diligently to their business noting that the fortunes of many other people and small-scale businesses are inextricably tied to their success in their business.

Earlier, the Chief Job Creation Officer in the state, Prof. Eric Eboh had in an address said the PPSP would facilitate the inputs, equipment, technologies, microcredit and technical assistance to farmers, agroprocessors and agricultural value chain operators to increase outputs, productivity and incomes, “thereby creating jobs and wealth, towards prosperity for all Deltans.”

High point of the occasion was the presentation of cheques ranging from two million naira to cooperative societies, and presentation of tractors and other farm implements to beneficiaries.



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