The Akwa Ibom State Government has put plans in motion to set up the Fadama Microfinance Bank, simply known as farmer’s bank.
This is part of efforts by the Udom Emmanuel administration to boost agriculture and encourage investments in agric business in the oil-rich state.
The microfinance bank is jointly sponsored by the World Bank, the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Akwa Ibom State Government.
It is part of the sustainability plans of the Third National FADAMA Development Project.
This was made known during an inspection visit to the project site by the Commissioner for Agriculture Dr Glory Edet.
She was in the company of the Executive Director, Directorate of Agric Investments, and the Commissioner for Lands and Water Resources Pastor Umo Eno.
The inspection team which took a walk around the facility located off Aka Road expressed satisfaction at the stage of work and commended the project managers for their commitments.
The Akwa Ibom State Post COVID-19 Economic Reconstruction Committee had recommended that more attention should be paid to agriculture in the post-COVID era instead of depending on oil as the main source of revenue.
The result of the recommendation is the establishment of the microfinance bank which is in the advanced stage of licensing.
The committee also recommended that rather than give out cash to farmers, Government should give soft loans through a microfinance bank to enable farmers to access loans at minimal rates.
Meanwhile, the inspection team led by the Commissioner for Agriculture also visited the AKS/Kiado Goat Multiplication Center, Ikot Itie Idung in Nsit Atai Local Government Area which is aimed at reducing the importation of meat and other animal proceeds consumed in the state.
Conducting the team round the facility, the Chairman, Technical Committee on Agriculture and Food Sufficiency Prof Edet Udoh highlighted major features of the centre with the different sections for goats of different stages of growth.
Some of the features of the centre according to him, include the laboratory, set of pens, offices, staff quarters and the fodder among others.
Also in the inspection team were Mr Gabriel Nkanang of the Technical Committee on Food Sufficiency, the Head of Department in the Agric Investments Directorate Mr Ofonmbuk Nelson and others.
The Governor Udom Emmanuel led administration has promised to give priority to agriculture, with a target of producing at least 80 percent of food consumed in the state by 2023.