In a bid to ensure the massive production of food in the country, the Bank of Industry (BOI) has given loans worth N5 Million to 100 farmers, who were given N50,000 each.
The loan was given to members of the Farmers Advancement and Youth Empowerment Association of Nigeria (FADAYEAN) under a programme called; GEEP through the Lagos State Council of Trades Men and Artisan Epe Co-operatives Multipurpose Society Limited (LASCOTAC).
According to FADAYEAN President, Hon. Abiola Gbolahan Taofeek, the loan is a test-run, which attracts no interest.
Hon. Gbolahan made this known during the distribution of cheques to beneficiaries, in the premises of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in Oko Oba Agege, Lagos.
He said the money was part of a N20 Million fund meant to be given as soft loans to farmers in the state under its authority and the beneficiaries were the first set of people to access the loan.
He also informed the farmers that they would have to repay the loan within 24 weeks at the rate of N2,200 weekly, adding that the period could only be reduced, but would never be extended.
“This is an opportunity for you to expand your agricultural business. You would have an opportunity to access up to N1 Million naira each if you are faithful with what you are getting today.
“You are lucky because we were given N20 Million by BOI and you are the first set of people to benefit from the money, even before the people in Epe area of the state, where our organization is situated,” he said.
Hon. Gbolahan who revealed that the loan was worth it, advised the farmers to organize themselves into groups and do the weekly remittance through their group leaders with proper records before the money is given to the President of the association.
He told the excited beneficiaries to guarantee themselves and to make judicious use of the loan.
Speaking further, Hon. Gbolahan revealed in his comments that the association is spread all over the South West of Nigeria with about 27,000 members.
Gbolahan explained that FADAYEAN has actually been inaugurated in other states, but that it started from Lagos State.
“Now we are in Delta, Imo and Enugu States. One Dr. Durodolu also took it to South Africa recently. What we are doing now is part of our own promise to the people to empower the youth, market women and farmers.
“The problem farmers in Nigeria have is how to get access to the Federal Government. We are trying to complement the efforts of the Federal Government through diversification programme.
“People have abandoned agriculture and focused on petroleum and this cannot sustain us.
“So, we need to diversify. We are getting loans from the Central Bank of Nigeria through the Bank of Industry. We usually lease hectares of land to our members,” he said.
FADAYEAN President pointed out that the association discovered that it was difficult for farmers to get money to cultivate, and that each farmer needed about N70,000, but BOI would give N50,000 to each of the farmers.
The loan, he said was extended to those in fish business like the egwuns and those selling dried fish so that they could get some money for their businesses.
He said: “The FG is trying to subsidize the input for farmers such as fertilizers and others. We also have a cooperative society, which is registered with the Lagos State Government.
“To be a member, you would pay N6,000 and we give each member one hectare of land as we have 400 hectares of land in Badagry, Lagos State and 500 hectares of land in Ijebu, Ogun State.
“So, we give them out to serious people. We can minimize and reduce poverty through this”.