The Oyo State Government has provided N1billion loan facility to the Oyo State Agricultural Credit Corporation for farmers across the state.
The single digit interest loan facility would ensure more access at reasonable interest rates for farmers to expand their business and attract potential investors into the farming value chain.
While speaking during a media briefing in Ibadan, Taofeek Akeugbagold, executive chairman, Oyo State Agricultural Credit Corporation, said that the present administration was committed to reforming the farming sector with notable programmes like the Sustainable Action for Economic Recovery (SAfER), among others.
The development, according to him, will ensure food security and cushion the effect of removal of fuel subsidy as the loan facility will focus on the small holder farmers, who bear the burden of feeding the teeming population.
“Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde has graciously approved the release of N1 billion under the Sustainable Actions for Economic Recovery (SAFER) Programme, which is to be disbursed to farmers in all the 33 Local Government Areas of the state so as to improve food security,” he said.
“They account for about 90% of farmers’ population and responsible for about 95% of the aggregate food and fibre production in the state”.
The chairman pointed out that, “They are mostly residents of the state’s rural areas, who are poorly served by basic public amenities.”
Akeugbagold said to access the loan, which would be disbursed and recouped by microfinance banks across the seven geopolitical zones in the state, and that each benefitting farmer must bring a guarantor, who is a civil servant on Grade level 7 and above.
He noted that the scheme would bring more stability to develop the agricultural sector and provide an enabling environment for the development of Oyo State farms and agricultural business.
He said further that the loan process, which is apolitical, will be disbursed to farmers who are duly registered with the state Ministry of Agriculture.
In his remarks, Emmanuel Ogundiran, general manager, Agric Credit Corporation, explained that, “The Oyo State government has recapitalized the corporation, we have received some funds and one of the mandates of the corporation is financing the agric value chain completely’’.
Ogundiran pointed out that, “The modality of giving the loan is going to be exactly as enshrined in loan conditions of the corporation. We have set rules for giving out loans and for this programme, we are making use of microfinance banks, which are governed by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s regulations and also regulated by the bank and financial institutions body’’.
He added, “The Corporation is funded by a system of revolving accounts, which was built up over the years. Moreover, considering the realities of the present time accentuated by the removal of fuel subsidy, which has severally impoverished the peasantry, the loan support programme cannot have come at a better time.
“For ease of administration, the corporation has divided the entire state into 7 zones and intends to commence a sensitization campaign in all the aforementioned zones very soon. The procedure for disbursement shall be unveiled at the subsequent Town-Hall meetings with the farmers which will take place across the 7 zones which the state has been divided. ”
On whether farmers, who are not registered members of associations, could apply for the loan, the general manager answered in the affirmative, stating: “In fact, we do not intend to give loan to the association. We are giving individual farmers’’