By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA—THE Federal Government has concluded plans to replicate and expand the Rural Finance Institution Building Programme, RUFIN, in the 36 states of the federation, following the success recorded in the pilot scheme in 12 states in the last six years.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, during a courtesy visit to Adamawa State Commissioner of Agriculture, Waziri Ahmadu, before a media tour of two local government areas of the state, Shellenge and Maiha.
Ogbeh, who was represented by his Senior Adviser in International Donor Partners, Appel Auta, maintained that rural wealth creation had been a major concern in order to financially empower rural dwellers and ensure that rural-urban migration was reduced drastically.
Meanwhile, over 1,000 women groups in Adamawa State, led by Hannah Gundiri, whose rural status have transformed, had begged for extension of the RUFIN programme beyond 2017 for more women to benefit. He said: “The beginning of creating wealth of prosperity in the rural community would be access to finance as number one.
‘’Financial literacy, know-how and the use of capacity of being able to manage when it is put in their hands and, of course, give them focus on how they can enlarge themselves from a sub-farmer to owning a hectare and beginning to multi-task themselves that farming is a business all year round.
“The goal here is before October, we are looking at all the modalities of how RUFIN itself can be replicated in the 36 states.
‘’I can tell you that unequivocally, we have commitment from the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation who are willing to put money into the project of financing the rural poor. Now RUFIN is being the case test study, we look at what has worked and not worked.
“Access to finance by farmers is being understood by this administration, as that is the harbinger of whatever progress needs to be made in the farming community.”
Also explaining how the programme had been impactful, the Deputy National Coordinator, RUFIN, Mrs. Ufaruna Unekwu, said the programme had lifted women farmers out of poverty and made them to have access to rural finance since it started in 2010.