The Bank of Agric has disclosed that 98 percent of female farmers in Osun State are creditworthy and reliable in paying back money they took from the bank as loan in the past.

The Manager of BOA, Mr Isaac Faniyi Ojo disclosed this during the 2018 Farmers’ Open Day held at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Research and Training Farm, Ago-Owu, Osun State.

The event which was designed to lift the spirit of the farmers was tagged Odun Alagbinla and was organised by the Office of Economic Development and Partnerships (OEDP) and the State Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MSFS) in collaboration with All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN).

Women farmers

Faniyi Ojo lamented that majority of male farmers were in the habit of refusing to repay loan when they take money from the bank to help them improve and expand their farming activities.

According to him “BOA usually encounter serious problem in retrieving money giving to majority of male farmers because most of them would not want to pay back the loan and this has been blocking other people from getting loan from the bank.”

“But the female farmers are doing excellent in terms of paying back the money that they collected from the bank. In fact, 98 percent of female farmers in Osun have paid back the loan they took.”

One of the female farmer who spoke at the event, Mrs Christiana Ogunsanya lamented that women in agric were not getting fair deal in terms of support from government. She called on government to create more chances and opportunities for the female farmers in the state.

The Director General of OEDP, Dr. Charles ‘Diji Akinola who was represented at the event by the Coordinating Director in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr Olubukola Aluko told the farmers that the administration of Governor Oyetola has good plans for them.

He said the state government wants to establish nine new farm settlements with one in each of the federal constituencies in the state and to also establish agro-industrial parks and produce markets.

“The state government will consolidate on the agricultural land expansion programme with additional target of 20,000 hectares for farm settlements to encourage and boost agriculture in the state.”

“The new farm settlement would focus on integrated agricultural development on crops (Maize, Cassava, Rice, Tomatoes, Vegetables, Yam, Plantain, Cocoa, and Oil Palm,), livestock, fisheries and Comprehensive Farm Service Centres where farmers will have access to Farm inputs, Extension services, Information and market intelligence services, produce storage and other support services.”

He said that the farm settlements in the urban centres would incorporate Green House and Vertical farming for growing vegetable, chillies, pepper and others.

The State Governor, Alhaji Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Mr Benedict Gboyega Alabi assured the farmers in the state of great deal of support in terms of motivation and encouragement to enhance agriculture value chain and ensure food security in the state.

Oyetola said the state government has been supporting farmers through various innovative interventions with a view to making Osun the main hub of agriculture in South West Nigeria.

Oyetola said he was impressed with the enthusiasm with which the farmers in the state embraced the strategic partnership between the state government and the IITA.

Oyetola said the state government released 205.5 hectares of land in Ago Owu to IITA for the purpose of conducting researches and setting up demonstration farms for best farming practices

He noted that records have shown that this innovative partnership has enhanced the method of farming being used by our hardworking farmers and consequently improve their yield and its attendant inflow of income.

The governor said Osun is an agrarian economy with farmers constituting over 70% of the population and that he was interested in ensuring that the farmers continue to have access to agricultural inputs that will enhance their productivities.

His words “To do this, our administration is determined to build on the achievement of the past administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola through the implementation of programmes that would promote a better livelihood of our hardworking farmers and ensure food security in the state.

He said one of the laudable programmes was the implementation of Osun Rural Enterprise and Agricultural Programme (OREAP) through which some innovative initiatives have been implemented.

Oyetola said farmers in the state have had access to agricultural loan, roads, fertilizer, agriculture support services among others through the government farmer-friendly initiatives

He said the government initiatives to help the farmers have resulted in sustained growth of the state economy with attendant creation of jobs and wealth as well as enhanced food security.

Oyetola said some of the initiatives include the implementation of the private sector-led Farm Input Supply programme, the establishment of the Osun Agricultural Land Holding Authority (the Land Bank), the revitalization of all the existing farm settlements in the state, massive construction of Farm-to-Market Roads in different parts of the state under the Rural Access Mobility Projects (RAMP), Osun Broilers Out-growers Production Scheme (O’BOPS), among others.

Some of the dignitaries at the event include the Chairman of Osun State House of Assembly’s Committee on Agriculture, Honourable Gbadebo Ibrahim, the former Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr Obawale Adebisi, the General Manager, Osun Agric Development Programme, Mrs Gbemi Fayoyin and the General Manager of the Osun State Agric Development Corporation, Mr John Kayode Olanipekun.

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