The Bank of Agriculture (BOA) on Thursday said that it had disbursed N2.4 billion loans to farmers participating in the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) in Niger. BOA’s Managing Director, Dr Kabiru Adamu, made the disclosure when visited Gov. Abubakar Bello at Government House, Minna. He said that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the state would also benefit from the loans. Adamu said that the Federal Government’s determination to revive the nation’s agriculture sector informed the bank’s decision to provide the loans to farmers. “The BOA has disbursed a total of N2.4 billion loan in Niger through its operations in Minna, Kontagora and New-Bussa. “We are honored to notify you of the bank’s interest to strengthen the relationship existing between our two organizations. “Beyond the ABP, we want to collaborate with your government to cover more grounds of mutual benefit,’’ he said. Adamu said that the bank wanted partnership with the state government to develop the Mokwa Ranch/Abattoir and the National Institute of Oceanography in New Bussa. “We want to lend our support by partnering with your government in ways that will help modernize agricultural practices.’’ The bank’s chief executive expressed the hope that the collaboration would increase per hectare production, quality of livestock and aquatic lives. He said the measure would also develop agricultural value chains as a means of generating income for farmers and curbing unemployment in the state. Responding, Gov. Bello urged the bank to make available its areas of intervention to enable the government to fast-track the collaboration. “If you can make available your areas of intervention within few weeks, we will partner with you in developing our agricultural sector,’’ he said. Bello announced the setting up of a five-man committee to work out the modalities of the collaboration with the bank. The BOA is Nigeria’s apex agricultural and rural development finance institution. The BOA is saddled with the responsibility to provide agricultural credit, non-agricultural micro-credit and mobilise savings and diversification of the revenue base of the economy.