Tony Osauzo, Benin
Edo State Government announced says it has secured N5 billion loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the Commercial Agric Credit Scheme for rice and maize production across the three senatorial districts of the state.
The Special Adviser to Governor Obaseki on Agriculture, Food Security and Forestry, Prince Joe Okojie, who disclosed this, said the state is targeting to harvest 17,000 tonnes of rice and 11,000 tonnes of maize by cultivating 6,600 hectares of land at the end of this year’s planting season.
Okojie who spoke to journalists shortly after sensitising 200 farmers at Illushi, Esan South East local government area on how they would assess the loan, said N2.2 billion would be used for crop production, N2.3 billion for land development and N100 million for irrigation.
He also explained that N1.2bn would be used to cultivate rice in Iguoriakhi, Iguomon, Illushi, Warrake and Agenebode while maize would be cultivated at Usugbenu, Sobe and Ekpoma.
“We hope to produce millionaire farmers this year. We do not anticipate a drop in the price of rice. We are hoping that we are able to produce about 17,000 metric tonnes cultivating about 4,400 hectares of rice farm.
“We took about N5 billion under the Commercial Agric Credit Scheme. About N2.2 billion is for crop production, N2.3 billion is for land development and N100m for irrigation.
“We are not doing cassava now but maize. We are looking to cultivate about 2,200 hectares and we are hoping that we will be able to harvest approximately 11,000 metric tonnes.
“We have engaged a lot of agronomists. We have employed the services of NIRSAL (Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending) that is going to be our technical partner and they are going to bring on board, a lot of agronomists that will help us.
“We are trying to see how we can deploy best practices for the cultivation of the crops this season and hope that we get better yield than the one that we got two years ago”, he said.