The Anambra Government in collaboration with the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) on Thursday presented a total of N1.2 billion to farmers in the state as revolving loans.
Inaugurating the scheme in Awka, Gov. Peter Obi of Anambra urged beneficiaries to utilize the credit facility and ensure prompt repayment.
Obi said that the initiative would boost food production in the state and assured the people that his administration would continue to function efficiently till March 2014.
In his remarks, the Managing Director of BOA, Dr Mohammed Santuraki, said that the collaboration was aimed at supporting small and medium scale farmers and other agricultural value chain entrepreneurs.
Santuraki said that 960 farmers and 192 Small and Medium Enterprises and agro- businesses in the state would benefit in the first phase of the loan scheme.
“The programme will create direct employment for 1,344 residents and another 384 people along the agricultural value chain.
“By the end of the collaboration, over 1,920 hectares of arable land would have been cultivated for rice, yam and cassava, among others,” he said.
The Commissioner for Agriculture in the state, Mr Ndubuisi Menakaya, said that the administration had in 2006 secured a N150 million loan for farmers and another N1 billion loan in 2011.
He said that the state government, through a Public-Private Partnership arrangement, had initiated a Songhai Model farm and a livestock farm at Urum and Nkwelle-Ezunaka communities, respectively.
Menakaya also said that the state government had commenced rehabilitation of irrigation infrastructure at Ogboji to increase rice production in the state.
According to him, 82,000 farmers had benefited from the fertilizer distribution in the state.
He said that to further enhance agriculture in the state, 100 tractors and accessories of different sizes would be procured.
Speaking at the occasion, the state Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Chief Nnamdi Mekoh, commended the bank and the government for the gesture.