The Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, yesterday applauded the Senate’s passage of 2nd reading of A Bill for an Act to establish the National Agricultural Credit Fund to Promote Commercial Agriculture in Nigeria.’ Saraki, in a statement on his social media pages, commended the effort by the Senate to establish the credit fund, saying that once established, the Agricultural Credit Fund would address the current lack of legal frameworks that limit funds meant for farming going to actual farmers.
The Senate President, further stated that the credit fund will also help ensure that local farmers are provided with implementable business plans, and systems that will guarantee that their products are purchased.
“This Credit Fund will also help ensure that local farmers are provided with business plans” Saraki said. “It will also help to ensure that agricultural products from our farmers get to larger companies that will purchase their products.
“Furthermore, the Agricultural Credit Fund will also help in our nation’s diversification plan and transition to seeing agriculture as a business, not just a social development program, as there will be clearly spelt out criteria for benefits, and fund administrators to guide the disbursement of the loans.”
It will be recalled that as the former Governor of Kwara State from 2003 to 2011, Dr. Saraki established the Shonga Farms scheme, which has been hailed as a revolutionary approach to addressing agriculture in Nigeria to promote job creation, improve efficiency, and enhancing food security.
Over 15 lawmakers who spoke in support of the bill, reiterated the essentiality of agriculture in economic development. They are: Senators Ibrahim Gobir, Ahmed Lawan, Aliyu Wammako, Emmanuel Bwacha , Abdullahi Adamu, Abubakar.
Others include: Bukar Ibrahim, Abubakar kyari, Jibrin Barau, Dino Melaye, Abubakar Gemade, Buka Ibrahim and Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremmadu .
At Tuesday’s plenary, A Bill for an Act to Make Provisions for Freedom from Hunger was also passed for Second Reading. This bill is envisioned to make adequate food of acceptable quality the right of every Nigerian child’s basic nutrition passed its second reading. Working in-sync, the agricultural lending fund bill and the Freedom from Hunger bill will be two critical pieces of legislation that address hunger and agricultural production, and will have significant positive impacts on commercial agriculture, food production and wealth generation.
Signed Bamikole Omishore
Special Assistant New Media to President of the Senate