…Advises Government On Rural Financing and Agriculture
FIC Report (Abia State) – A Professor of Agricultural Economics, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Prof. Remy Onyekachi Mejeha has identified poor banking habit among farmers and most rural dwellers as one of the challenges facing Rural based financial intermediating instruments.
This is even as he rightly observed that the density of rural Banks as obtained for Nigeria where one rural Bank covers over 43,000 hectares of arable land, is considered too low, when compared with results of similar studies in some developing countries of Asia and Sub-Sahara Africa.
Prof. Mejeha, in his lecture entitled, “Financial Intermediation In Agriculture: Hidden Treasure Mobilized For Wealth Creation”, at Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim auditorium, during the 50th Inaugural lecture of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, MOUAU.
Prof. Mejeha pointed out that keeping huge resources unproductive in a country where resources are very scarce constitutes a bottleneck to wealth creation.
He harped on the urgent need for Nigeria to increase the number of rural based financial intermediating institutions, as there are huge amounts of hidden treasures of different forms in the rural economy.
Prof. Mejeha posited that if they are not mobilized, greater part of such treasures (hoarded cash and stored valuable possessions) are either lost or remain unproductive.
He disclosed that Co-operative Societies, which is one of the instruments for resource mobilization had wide geographical spread in the rural areas but were not effective in mobilizing cash hoarding because they depend heavily on grants and supports which stopped coming at a point in time.
Moreover, he pointed out that Banks and related institutions have not been able to extend financial services like saving mobilization and extension of credit to a larger segment of the farming population, the action, according to him left for such people is to hoard cash, even as he maintained that hoarded cash is not available for investments.
To this end, considering huge values of identifiable unharnessed treasures in the rural communities, he recommended policy actions on treasure mobilization that should involve the Political class, Investors and relevant Institutions.
Prof. Mejeha also recommended that Universities of Agriculture and related Institutions should work together with the objective of enumerating the treasures and proffering solutions on effective ways of converting unharnessed agricultural treasures to sustainable means of wealth creation in Nigeria
Earlier while declaring the inaugural lecture open, the Vice Chancellor of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Prof. Maduebibisi Ofo Iwe described the lecture as apt, pointing out that cash hoarding has become one of the problem of the Nigeria economy.
He recommended that the devaluation of Naira needs to be addressed.