By Olawale Olayinka, Abeokuta
The African Finance Development Bank (AFDB), is putting machineries in place to site the largest Agro-Processing Zone in Ogun State.
The State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun gave the hint while flagging off the State Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme at the June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta, said the development was as a result of several engagement by the State Government with officials of the Bank who had been in his office twice in the last two months and a half.
“The African Finance Development Bank is headed by Prof. Adewunmi Adesina, an indigenes of the State. The Bank decided that they were having two Agro-Processing Zones in Nigeria and Prof. Adesina decided that the biggest must be sited on Ogun State.” This is the result of our constructive engagement with the Bank over the last 70 days or so”, he said.
He said the Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme was another avenue to boosting the nation’s self sufficiency in food production, which is line with the Federal government’s agenda on food security to save foreign exchange spent on food importation which could be produced locally.
The Governor who expressed surprise that despite the success of the scheme in other states, Ogun has never access the funds from the scheme, hence the setting up of the State Anchor Borrowers’ Committee to ensure that farmers in the State are partakers.
Prince Abiodun said 2000 beneficiaries have been selected and would be given Certificates of Acceptance and a Leasehood, adding that adopting the scheme in the State, it would help in addressing food security and creating employment for women and youths.
The Governor noted that the scheme was a tripartite agreement between the State as facilitator, Central Bank of Nigeria as financier and the beneficiaries calling on the beneficiaries to be committed and responsible in repayment plan.
Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs. Abosede Ogunleye, described Agriculture as a viable sector that could absorb the teeming unemployed youths, expressing delight that the State has signed it’s counterpart fund and keyed into the scheme.
Head of Developing Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mrs. Oluyemisi Olukoya, said th State has not done well in accessing the Scheme as only 5249 are in the scheme as against 20,000 from Kebbi State.
Chairman, Ogun State Anchors’ Borrower Programme, Prof. Bola Okuneye, said the programme was designed to link off-takers of agriculture products with producers so that farmers would know that there was demand for their products at an agreed and beneficial price to improve production so as to guarantee abundant agricultural products in the nation.