By NBF News

EDO State Government has begun the disbursement of N1 billion loan to farmers in the three senatorial districts  of the state where they   were urged them to make good use of the resources to make the state more agriculturally independent.

A breakdown of the beneficiaries at the disborsmemt ceremony at the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium, at the weekend, showed that farmers from the Edo south Senatorial district made up of seven local government areas, got the highest with N470. 616 million, followed by Edo North comprising six local government areas with a total amount of N331.602 million, while Edo central got N197.843 million.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony, the governor said the disbursement of the loan was delayed to make sure that the money gets to the right farmers and at the right time.

He said his administration would not tolerate situations where loans meant for local farmers are shared by top government functionaries without getting to the real farmers in the local community. He said this was why he asked the Deputy Governor to chair the committee, which went round the local government councils to identify the actual farmers.      'They set up Agricultural Cooperative Bank to provide loans to farmers, then all of a sudden, every retired military general became a farmer, every retired head of service became a farmer, every serving permanent secretary became a farmer, every director in the ministry became a farmer and the actual farmer never got one naira. So today I feel happy and I want you to help me salute the deputy governor, who headed the committee to ensure that the definition of farmer does not change for the purpose of this facility'.

The state Commissioner for Finance, Osagie Negbedion, who said the scheme, was to support the farmers in the state in collaboration with the United Bank for Africa (UBA), reveal that 720 cooperatives qualified under the scheme.

He said arable farmers, which made up of those that grow cassava, yam, rice, maize had 559 cooperatives were qualified for the loan. They got a total of N636 million, with each cooperative getting the sum of N1. 135 million.

Others, he said are farmers who grow tree crops like oil palm, cocoa and mango with total of 30 cooperatives and were given a total sum of N90 million, with each cooperative getting the sum of N3 million.

He said the fishery sector has 65 cooperatives and got a total sum of N112 million, with each cooperative getting N1.723 million, Livestock farmers has 50 cooperatives and got a total of N114 million, with each cooperative getting N2. 325 million, while the agro allied farmers got a total of N48 million for their I6 cooperative groups with each one getting the sum of N3 million.