No fewer than 350 individual farmers in Enugu State have benefitted from the pilot phase of the N2 billion agriculture loan, an official said on Tuesday.
The Chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in the state, Chief Alfred Eneh, said in Enugu that 25 farmers’ cooperative societies received various amounts from the scheme.
Eneh said cooperative societies with no fewer than 10 members were qualified to benefit from the scheme to boost their respective agricultural ventures.
Said Eneh: “This loan is for all genuine farmers in the state and I can confirm to you that the disbursement has started.
“We have just come back from the inspection of farms of the prospective beneficiaries after which those that met the standard got their share of the money.”
Eneh said the state government had facilitated an additional N2 billion loan, to ensure that all interested farmers benefitted from the facilities.
“This loan is for every farmer in the state, but you have to show evidence that you are a genuine farmer.
“That is why we have embarked on the inspection of farms with the Bank of Agriculture where the fund is domiciled.”
The chairman, however, said that farmers from Ezeagu Local Government Area were disqualified from accessing the loan.
According to him, the reason is that most farmers from the area took some loans in 2007 and have yet to pay back.
“We discovered that some of the farmers diverted the loans to other non-agricultural ventures.
“Some invested their loans in buying tricycles while others married new wives with the ones given to them,” he said.
Eneh appealed to the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the facility in appreciation of the government’s gesture.
“This is a loan with eight per cent interest and we will not want any farmer to divert it to other ventures other than what they are meant for.”
Eneh said that farmers who were yet to express interest in the facility should proceed to the Bank of Agriculture in their various zones to join the scheme.