Ondo State governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko has disbursed about N25 million to 70 young agro-farmers and agropreneurs as support to start their own agricultural ventures.
The disbursement of the loans was held at the International Event Centre, Akure, the State capital, as part of activities marking the 2016 World Food Day tagged: “Climate is Changing, Food and Agriculture Must too.”
Dr. Mimiko, represented by the Chief of Staff, Dr Kola Ademujimi, said the loan was at interest rate of 2.5 per cent for a period of two years with a moratorium period of six months.
He noted that it was in line with his administration’s resolve to support micro and small scale businesses, create wealth and increase food production in the state.
The governor explained that the administration, through the Ondo State Micro Credit Agency (OSMA) had disbursed about N3 billion under different schemes, targeting market women, artisan groups and small businesses.
He added that over N1.5 billion was disbursed directly by the state government and another N1.4 billion had been disbursed under the ODSG/CBN MSME loan scheme.
According to him, the Cocoa Revolution Project of the State government had improved the quality and quantity of cocoa production leading to the establishment of Sunshine Chocolate Factory aimed at adding value to cocoa beans production in the state.
He, therefore, charged the beneficiaries to use the funds judiciously and for its purpose, saying that all funds given would be repaid.
because there is a monitoring team in place to ensure repayment.
The governor encouraged those who could not benefit from the disbursement not to be discouraged, assuring them that another batch of disbursement would be carried out soon, saying the government would continue its roles by providing necessary enabling environment and support for the youth.
The loan amount ranged from N250,000 to N500,000 per beneficiary for a period of two years.
Also speaking at the event, the Chairman of WECA, Bolanle Funmiloye, said that the loan was to support small holder farmers as they were the keys to food security.
Mrs Olafunmiloye said it was another milestone of continuous mission to engage the youth productivity and transform them into wealth creators and employers of labour using the agricultural sector as a vehicle. She added that the agency has a mandate to develop a new crop of young professional farmers and entrepreneurs that would use agriculture as a tool for wealth creation in the state.
The Chairman explained that the state government established four Agro Business Cities in three senatorial districts in the state and set up agricultural processing centres in Akure adding over 2,500 youths have benefitted from the programme.
According to her, 630 graduates have also benefitted from Pro farmers and Agropreneurs Sustainable Scheme ( PASS) since its inauguration in 2014 by Gov. Mimiko.
She noted that the beneficiaries, who were trained for 12-18 months were given between N10,000- N30,000 and profit from sales of agricultural products. The chairman stated that the agency has variety of products which are specially produced and packaged by Profarmers and Agropreneurs, products as Fish, Chicken, Maize, Egg and Beef popularly referred to as ‘eja WECA’, ‘Ediye WECA’, ‘Agbado WECA’; ‘Ege WECA’, Eyin WECA’ and WECA beef from the programme,saying other products would soon be added.
Mrs Olafunmiloye explained that the achievements of the Agency over the years have been acknowledged within and outside and described as the best government – driven strategy for youth in a government-driven strategy and programmes in the country.
Two of the beneficiaries, Mr Kayode Oni, a graduate of Sociology and Anthropology 2011 at Obafemi Awolowo, University, Ile -Ife( who got N350,000) and Mrs Grace Oni, a graduate of Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti (who got N250,000.00) said it was a rare privilege, saying they could start their poultry business and maize plantations effectively.