As part of Federal Government efforts to boost cassava production, about 135 farmers in four communities in Edo North Senatorial districts have concluded plans to access the sum of N35.250million from Bank of Agriculture (BOA).
BusinessDay reports that the programme which is federal government interventionist agency is being sponsored by the Bank of Agriculture (BOA).
The programme tagged, ‘BOA cassava mopping up programme’ is geared towards encouraging farmers to go into cassava production as well as creating existing markets for the farmers to dispose of their various products.
Abdul Muhammed, coordinator, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Edo North chapter gave the hint in an exclusive interview with BusinessDay in Auchi.
Muhammed listed the communities to include Auchi, Uzuaire, South- Ibie in Etsako West and Weppa at Etsako East local government councils respectively.
Muhammed who is also the Edo State vice- chairman of Roots and Tubers Expansion Programme said the farmers will cultivate 300 hectares of cassava farms in the 2014 fiscal year.
He added that Auchi group which is made up of 41 farmers will cultivate 100 hectares, Uzuaire which is 30 will cultivate 50 hectares, and South- Ibie which is 23 in number will cultivate 50 while Weppa with 41 members will also cultivate 100 hectares.
He said each of the farmers will be empowered with the sum of N250.000 in addition to 50 percent grants for land preparations; procure of fertilizers, farms inputs and among others.
The AFAN coordinator who however decried the compulsory down payment of 20 percent that is N50.000 as counterpart fund charged the farmers by the authorities of BOA however called on the Edo state government to help subsidize the funds for them.
He wondered how peasant farmers that are hoping to migrate from subsidence system of farming to mechanize being charged N50, 000 before accessing federal government approved interventionist funds.
Muhammed urged the Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole to help pay the amounts which are about N6.750million, noting that the said money could recoup the money when the farmers are disposing of their products.
“I want to appeal to the state governor, Adams Oshiomhole to help subsidize this 20 percent compulsory fees being charged by each farmer by the bank for the interest of the state.
“Edo State is one of the participating pilot states and if the efforts of the farmers are truncated by this huge charges the state will lose the opportunity as well as the farmers”, he said.
He also disclosed that the farmers have been linked to Idawor farms operator of Idawor cassava processing factory located at Iraokhor in Etsako Central local government area.
He posited that the cassava processing factory has been empowered by the federal government with modern equipments and machines for the production of cassava flours.
He said the payment of the 20 percent counterpart funds to the bank would elapse before the end of the week.
By: IDRIS UMAR MOMOH