As part of efforts to facilitate increased lending to the agriculture sector of the economy, the Bank of Agriculture (BOA), has given the sum of N1 billion to rural microfinance banks.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja at the financial linkage forum held by Rural Finance Institution Building Programme (RUFIN), the National Programme Coordinator RUFIN, Mallam Musibau Azeez, said that financial linkage was a good tool which provides the needed refinancing window for the agricultural and rural transformation in the country.
According to him, loans management strategy manual already developed by the National Programme for Agriculture and Food Security (NPFS), should be widely circulated in order to help microfinance banks develop best practices in on-lending arrangements.
He, however recommended that credit facilities to farmers and the srural populace should be channelled through MFBs across the country and that the existing cooperative lending institutions should be acknowledged and built upon in the design and implementation of rural financing programmes.
In his words: “In terms of disbursement of funds under the linkage programme, the existing farmers groups under the on-going donor projects namely: NPFS and FADAMA III, should be used to pilot the scheme and there should be need for capacity building training for MFBs on designing partnership and linkage service agreement.’’ Azeez said.
The coordinator assured that women were the major target group of the programme,adding that rural poor families would directly benefit from the financial services that would be improved in terms of quality, quantity and access to deposit, loan and transfer services.