From: LAYI OLANREWAJU, Ilorin
The Kwara State Government, on Sunday, said it has commenced plans to engage 10,000 youth farmers under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) newly-introduced Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme. (AADS).
Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr. Adegoke Bamidele, who gave the assurance in Ilorin , the state capital capital, while answering questions from journalists during an interview on Sunday noted that the scheme is part of the Federal Government’s expanded Anchor Borrowers Programme. (ABP)
Bamidele disclosed that the state government would vigorously pursue and key into the scheme this year as part of efforts to reduce youth restiveness and unemployment in the state and explained that it would focus on youths within the age bracket of eighteen and thirty five years.
His words: “those willing to engage in the scheme which involves the state association of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) are not expected to come up with any physical collateral but only need to be grouped into formally registered cooperatives and cross guarantee each other.
The Commissioner explained further that all loan beneficiaries must also have valid Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) , register their names with the ministry while the state government would involve in land clearing as well as provide technical support .
He raised alarm over the challenge farmers are facing over storage of their products which discourages lot of them as fifty percent of their produce are lost to lack of storage facilities and therefore announced that establishment of the Off -Taker Demand Driven Scheme which is meant to assist farmers in the state in terms of marketing.
The commissioner disclosed that the recent trip embarked upon by the state government to China would soon start to yield results as efforts are been made to distribute tractors to the sixteen local government areas of the state so as to further boost farming this year.
He therefore challenged the various councils in the state to secure land and embark on massive farming in line with the Agriculture policy of the Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed’s administration more so that Kwara is an agrarian state and promised that fertilizers would be made available to genuine farmers.
Bamidele who had once served as Youth Empowerment Coordinator for Oke-Ero local government area , said one of the major achievements recorded by the present administration in the state is to engage youth in agricultural programmes and supported them in land clearing and other aspects and called on other unemployed youths to key into the farming facilities provided by the state government.