Delta state governor Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has disbursed one billion Naira Agriculture loan to farmers with a warning not to divert the loan to unproductive purposes such as marrying new wives and buying cars.
Dr. Uduaghan who gave the charge during the disbursement of Federal Government and Central Bank Agriculture loan scheme in Asaba said diverting the loan would be fatal as it would be difficult for them to re-pay the loan at the projected period.
He therefore called on beneficiaries of the loan to judiciously utilize the loan in increasing food production so that the purpose of the present exercise would not be defeated.
He also called on Deltans to take to farming in order to increase food production saying “Everyone must farm so that we can feed ourselves, if everyone farms we will be able to feed ourselves”.
“The important thing about peasant farming is that we will be able to feed ourselves, this will reduce hunger, there will be reduced anger and violence, some of this crisis we are having today will not exist,” he said.
Governor Uduaghan observe that his administration would continue to encourage agricultural development programmes so as to build a state without oil, stating that his administration has empowered farmers through the Youth Empowerment through Agriculture, (YETA), farmers support programme (FSP) and FADAMA III project.
The governor noted that his government was encouraging agriculture in order to improve on food production and diversify the economy adding that the Ministry of Agriculture would monitor the farmers to ensure that they make judicious use of the loan.
Speaking further, he said if the loan was effectively used the state government would give out more loans to farmers appealling to beneficiaries to be focused and pay attention to the viability of the project in order to be able to re-pay the loan within the specified period of seven years.
Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Barrister Misan Ukubenyinje said that agriculture holds the key to rapid economic development through the provision of enough food and employment.
He said the Agricultural loan was an initiative of the CBN in collaboration with the federal government and state Ministry of Agriculture to farmers cooperative societies adding that 934 cooperative societies would benefit from it in the state.
Barr. Ukubenyinje charged the cooperative societies not to divert the loan for any other purpose stressing that it would be re-payed within 7 years at an interest rate of 9% annually.
“The loan is meant for Agricultural purposes not to be diverted for any other purpose and note that the loan repayment period according to CBN guild line is seven years from the date of disbursement,” he said.
“You are advised to optimize the use of the loan for it to have a multiplier effect on food production in the state. You should reciprocate this government kind gesture by promptly repaying the loan assistance extended to you,” he said.
Responding, a beneficiary Chief Fidelis Ugba thanked Governor Uduaghan for being farmers friendly by encouraging Agricultural development programmes in the state.
He promised that they would judiciously make use of the loan for their benefit and that of the state.