Hitherto, farmers and stakeholders in the agricultural sector have often been snubbed by regular banks in matters that concern lines of credit for their businesses. However, to curtail this, the farmers have decided to take their destiny in their hands; they have launched a farmers’ micro-finance bank, called Joint Farmers Micro-finance Bank (JFMB) at Oyo town in Oyo State.

One of the founders and board members, Mr. Muideen Adekunle recalled that 187 cooperative societies decided, some years ago, to undertake this venture in order to serve farmers in Nigeria.

Adekunle, who is the Chairman of Nigeria Cassava Growers Association (NCGA) in Oyo State, said JFMB was first of its kind in the country, wholly owned by Nigerian farmers and dedicated to serve them and their agricultural projects.

He said that for now, branches of the bank, which is taking off in Oyo State, would be located in Lagos, Osun, Ogun, Delta, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi and Abuja.

Adekunle urged farmers to buy shares in the new bank, as the bank would serve their interest and those of their children, who were to be employed as skilled personnel.

National President of NCGA, Mr Segun Adewumi lamented that in the past, some individuals had duped Nigerian farmers under the guise of registering them for fictitious loans and grants.

“We shall link the Joint Farmers Microfinance Bank to donors and the SME programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which is presently delivering N220 billion loans for which two per cent interest rate is charged,” he assured.

Another board member, Dr James Ojebode said though the NCGA was a strong catalyst to the birth of the bank, it was a bank for farmers of different crops to benefit nationwide.

Ojebode urged NCGA members to lead the way by subscribing massively to the N100 million capital requirement of the CBN for the bank to take off fully.

In a message sent to the occasion, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi urged the farmers to do their best to sustain the new bank.

The Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi said the establishment of the microfinance bank was a great opportunity for Nigerian farmers and he urged them not to misuse it.

Ajimobi, who was represented by acting Permanent Secretary, Oyo State Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Gabriel Olusoji, said the farmers would become prosperous and agriculture would be fully developed with the establishment of the bank.

The Governor, who officially launched the bank, said it was coming at the right time as agriculture would now be the main pillar of the Nigerian economy with the crash in global prices of crude oil, Nigeria’s major export.

About 2,500 farmers and agricultural practitioners from Oyo, Lagos, Osun, Ogun, Delta, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi and Abuja graced the occasion.

Blog post courtesy http://agronigeria.com.ng/