The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has said by the time the restructuring of the Bank of Agriculture is complete, it will become the largest bank in the country having anything between 25 and 30 million depositors and shareholders.

The minister who stated this in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP said “We have begun the process of restructuring the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and by the time we finish, it will become the largest bank in this country, with probably anything between 25 and 30 million depositors and shareholders.

Chief Ogbeh while stating his achievements and those of his counterpart minister of state, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri since resuming office as Ministers, said “We cut down on food importations very heavily, such as rice, in 2015 Nigeria imported 580,000 tonnes of rice. In 2016, the figure dropped to 58,000 tonnes, by the end of this year we will absolutely end rice importation, there will be no need for it that is a saving of five million dollars a day.”

He added that “We also succeeded in telling Nigerians that agric is the alternative, we published a document called the Green Alternative and the message has gone everywhere and the response to agriculture and agriculture investment has never been as massive as it is now, with big farmers, small farmers, even young educated people beginning to recognize the fact that this is where to go for a country to survive.

Other achievements, he added “include a new soil mapping of Nigeria as farmers now know and more and more of them are getting to know that every soil has a specific nutritional nee, so you do not just apply the same old fertilizers we did in the past.”

In his words “We have begun the process of restructuring the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and by the time we finish, it will become the largest bank in this country, with probably anything between 25 and 30 million depositors and shareholders.”

The Minister further stated that they had succeeded in returning the Universities of Agriculture under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development after 16 years in the wilderness.

“We have brought back the universities of agriculture under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development after 16 years in the wilderness. And people have asked me what difference does it make is there any precedent anywhere in the world. The answer is clear, India has 87 universities of Agriculture, and Brazil has 70, China 25 to mention just three. We had only 3 here and for some reasonsfor 16 years, they simply did not really concentrate on their core mandates”