The Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) under a collaborative arrangement has commenced the disbursement of a N1 billion facility to youths involved in agriculture in the Niger Delta region.
The programme was flagged off on Thursday, December 1, 2011 at the BOA Zonal Office in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State.
Under the first phase of the programme 2550 Niger Delta youths in 255 co-operative groups will receive loans for use in various enterprises ranging from aquaculture and feed formation, to poultry, rabbitry, snailry and food processing.
Following the flag-off of the development partnership tagged BOA/NDDC Credit and Entrepreneurial Development Scheme, the youths who have been trained in various aspects of agricultural production under the NDDC Skills Acquisition Programme in the Niger Delta will receive varying amounts of money ranging from N100,000 to N250,000 individually as loans to start them off in their various enterprises.
The loans under the scheme are to be repaid within a maximum period of two years and have moratorium determined by project type.
Speaking during the flag-off ceremony, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the BOA, Dr. Mohammed Santuraki, who was represented by the Executive Director, Corporate Services, Hon. Sam Elibe, commended the NDDC Management for its efforts towards positively engaging the youths.
The BOA boss noted that the Bank is presently undertaking tremendous transformational initiatives. These, he said, will result among other things, in better focused products that are designed to connect with farmers and leapfrog the development of the sector. He added that the new products will target individuals, groups, co-operatives and formal organizations.
Dr. Santuraki noted that the BOA as a DFI partners with institutions interested in the development of the sector and its operators.
He advised the beneficiaries to make good use of the loans given to them, considering the fact that the loans have to be repaid.
In his address, the Managing Director/CEO of the NDDC, Dr. Chris Oboh, represented by the former Acting MD/CEO, Mrs. Osato Aferiyeuka noted that the BOA/NDDC collaboration is one of the major milestones in the Commission’s efforts to fight poverty and the attendant economic difficulties that have limited the Niger Delta people’s ability to participate in the economic development of the country.
The NDDC helmsman urged all stakeholders to put in every effort to ensure the success of the programme, while assuring all of the Commission’s commitment to creating developmental opportunities for the people of the region.

M. N. Kolo
Head, Corporate Planning Dept.

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