Edo State government has acquired a N5 billion loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the Commercial Agric Credit Scheme to be invested in rice and maize production across the three senatorial districts.
The state government seeks to harvest 17,000 tonnes of rice and 11,000 tonnes of maize by cultivating 6,600 hectares of land at the end of the planting season in 2019.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Food Security and Forestry, Prince Joe Okojie, explained that the N2.2 billion would be used for crop production, while N2.3 billion would be allocated for land development and N100 million for irrigation.
This disclosure was made by Okojie after sensitising 200 farmers at Illushi, Esan South East Local Government Area on how they would assess the loan.
While giving the breakdown for the loan expenses, he added that N1.2 billion would be used to cultivate rice in Iguoriakhi, Iguomon, Illushi, Warrake, and Agenebode then maize would be cultivated at Usugbenu, Sobe and Ekpoma.
He said, “we hope to produce millionaire farmers this year and are able to produce about 17,000 metric tonnes cultivating about 4,400 hectares of rice farm for we do not anticipate a drop in the price of rice.
“We are not doing cassava now but maize. We look forward to cultivating about 2,200 hectares and harvest approximately 11,000 metric tonnes,” he added.
The Special Adviser also noted that the Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) has been employed as the project’s technical partner, adding that NIRSAL will help bring on board seasoned agronomists to see to the success of the project.