By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
A financial institution aimed at boosting indigenes involvement in agriculture and food sufficiency for the growing population is underway in Akwa Ibom State soon.
The institution, Ibom Fadama Micro Finance Bank, according to the state governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel is expected to address the risks and challenges that farmers face in the process of borrowing from the informal sector.
Emmanuel expressed this while speaking on Wednesday at the 20th Annual Conference of the Nigeria Association of Agricultural Economists held at the Faculty of Agriculture Auditorium, University of Uyo with the theme” Agricultural Risks and Management in Nigeria”
The Governor who was represented by the Chairman of the Technical Committee on Agriculture and Food sufficiency, Prof. Edet Udoh, said the bank will be purely owned and managed by farmers in the state.
“This administration understands the challenges that farmers go through in securing sustainable finance from the informal sector, that is why the state is putting up a special bank for Akwa Ibom State farmers called Ibom Micro Finance Bank.
“The bank will be purely owned and managed by the farmers of Akwa Ibom State so that they will have sustainable finance and be able to circumvent financial risks of borrowing money from the informal sector”the governor said
He said his administration is putting up programmes aimed at addressing various risks associated with value chain in crops, livestocks, fisheries and forestry adding that for you to succeed in managing risks you must address production,marketing, price and environmental risks.
Emmanuel said his administration is partnering with the federal government and the World Bank on programmes aimed at managing Agricultural Risks.
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Uyo, Prof Nyaudo Ndaeyo lamented that Agriculture which is the mainstay of the economy is facing serious challenges including climate change, environmental degradation and hernsmen/ farmers clashes.
He challenged resource persons to profer workable strategies and solutions to the problems
“I want to say that the theme of this year’s conference is not apt but relevant considering the economic risks as it affects the Agricultural sector which is the mainstay of our economy.
“The agricultural sector has faced several challenges including but not limited to climate change, environmental degradation, natural disasters such as desertification, fire and of course hernsmen and farmers clashes. I challenge resource persons to find workable solution to these problems” the VC said.
The President of the Nigeria Association of Agricultural Economists, Job Nmadu, in his welcome address said the annual conference has been a platform where government policies and programmes at Agricultural development with particular reference to small scale producers and others who constitute 60% of actors in Nigeria are taught basic agricultural principles that when applied could boast food production in the country.