Obaseki’s agric reform: Edo farmers laud agriprenuer scheme, say initiative’ll boost food sufficiency

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In response to a N5 billion investment outlay to boost the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration’s agriprenuer scheme, farmers under the scheme have expressed confidence in the initiative, noting that the support will boost their returns and ensure food sufficiency in the state.

The Edo State Government recently accessed a N5b investment facility from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the Anchor Borrowers Programme to boost cultivation of rice and maize in the state.

A cross-section of farmers in the scheme, who spoke to journalists during interactive sessions across the state, said that the scheme would provide leeway for farmers to feel the impact of government and also get the needed funding, inputs and adopt improved methods to boost productivity.

Mrs Gloria Ogala, a yam and rice farmer in Illushi, Esan South East Local Government Area (LGA), said she was participating in the scheme because of the cheap loans farmers could access from CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme.

“We find it difficult to access loans here in Illushi and the ones we get come with high-interest rates. For instance, if you borrow N200,000 at the beginning of a planting season, you pay back N400,000 at the end. This will drastically affect our profit. I am happy because the state government wants us to make a good profit from farming”, she said.

Mr. John Aregbokhia, from Warake, Owan East LGA, said the agriprenuer programme would encourage youths take to farming as a business, going by the profit to be made at the end of each farming season.

According to him, “We usually make about N1 million from 20 hectares of rice farm but we have been told that we can make about N4 million from the same farmland. This is really wonderful. I have no doubt that the programme will be a success because we did something similar last year and the outcome was positive.”

A rice farmer in Agenebode, Estako East LGA, Mr. Kanabe Ahmed, lauded the scheme as a good initiative because farmers are assured of farm inputs and off-takers, who will buy off the products at the end of the planting season.