Some 3,000 youths and women, who are beneficiaries of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Agricultural Loan Scheme in Bayelsa State on Thursday commenced entrepreneurship trainings.
The programme, under the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS) is targeted at Rice. Cassava and Fish farmers selected from eight local government areas across BayelsaState.
Speaking at the event, Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr David Alagoa urged the beneficiaries of the scheme to explore opportunities in the various value chains beyond core farming areas.
Alagoa, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Mightyman Dikuro noted that the scheme was aimed at boosting food production in the state by guaranteeing the loan for the beneficiaries.
He explained that the scheme was designed to discourage direct disbursement of cash to beneficiaries as the farming input component of the loan would be supplied to the farmers through their cluster groups.
Also addressing the beneficiaries during the training, Mr Stanley Oruseigha, Head of Development Finance at the CBN in Yenagoa advised the beneficiaries to refrain from diverting the cash component of the loan.
He explained that given the projected yield from rice cultivation an hectare of land would yield more than 35 bags of processed 50 kg bags, which could fetch in excess of N700,000 which is far greater than the total loan sum for each beneficiary.
He said that it made economic sense for the farmers to engage in the rice farming with a gestation period of three months.
It will be recalled that Gov. Douye Diri of had on Nov. 11 obtained the approval of the Bayelsa House of Assembly to borrow N17 billion from various sources, N10 billion of the N17 billion from the CBN would be dedicated to Agriculturenan.