Governor Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State has flagged off the distribution of N1.15 billion loans to small holder dry season farmers in the 23 local government areas of the state.
The loan scheme follows a memorandum of understanding signed between the state government and the Bank of Agriculture (BoA). Under the MoU, the state government provided N650 million while the bank provided N500 million.
Wamakko said that each of the 23 local governments was given N50 million, warning that “the gesture will only be extended to genuine farmers.” He said that the scheme, which is a revolving one, was aimed at encouraging the beneficiaries to produce more food.
“This is also aimed at reducing the menace of poverty and unemployment, rural -urban drift and political thuggery in the state,” Wamakko added. He also disclosed that, the state government will pay the initial deposits for 2000 farmers who will benefit with N205,000 each under a federal government cassava production programme .
Managing Director of BoA, Dr. Mohammed Santuraki, decried the massive importation of food into Nigeria in spite of the vast fertile land available in the nation. He said that the loans were targeted at small holder farmers who, according to him, are responsible for about 90 per cent of farmers, adding that with the appropriate support through the provision of quality inputs, even the small holder can operate profitably.
“So we are happy with this collaboration and this event has become a reality today barely five weeks after the signing of the MoU with the state government,” he said.