By Segun Giwa
Akure, March 18, 2021 Mr Akin Olotu, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Ondo State Governor on Agribusiness, says plans are in top gear by farmers to form their own Micro finance bank in the state.
Olotu stated this on Thursday in Akure at an interactive forum of Stakeholders and Farmers on floating of Agriculture Micro Finance Bank to fill the funding gap in agriculture and agribusinesses.
He said that the proposed take off capital of the microfinance bank was N200 million, which could be raised within two months.
“When we started initially at the point we were able to raise the capital base requirements, which was N20 million then, it was that same week that CBN increased it to N200 million,” he said.
Olotu noted that monies earmarked for farmers by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) did not always get to the real farmers.
He added that the few that accessed it got it at the rate of nine per cent, compared to the proposed two per cent by the micro finance bank.
He said it would also aid any intervention that was meant for farmers from government and would also address the cumbersome processes attached to accessing of bank loans.
He noted that 40 per cent of money in circulation in Kenya were owned by farmers, saying, “it can happen in Ondo State too.”
“We are here to revisit our plan on Ondo State Farmers Micro finance bank. We have been on it for a while.
“We invited churches, mosques, and traditional rulers so that they can help reach people in their congregation and domain.
“It is a must, if we are going to move forward, it is a vision of our governor to move from agriculture to agribusiness.
“We believe this farm will bring sanity to Agric finance in the state.
It will make input available to farmers at a very good price which will enhance profitability of agriculture in the State,” he said.
A consultant, Dr Tolani Patrick, urged the CBN to stop putting the risk aspect of lending money to farmers to commercial banks in order to help the farmers.
Patrick urged farmers and other people in the state to support the idea which would improve agribusiness in the state.
Also, a Farmer, Chief Fred Adeojo, said if the plan could be put right, the state would not beg for money, saying, “One thing we know how to do best is agriculture.”