The Edo State Government in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has initiated a N500 million Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme, CACS, to de-risk investments in agriculture in the state.
This was disclosed in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Friday by the Special Adviser on Media to the Governor of Edo State, Crusoe Osagie.
The statement showed that the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, has inaugurated a nine-member committee to oversee and serve as a monitoring team for the scheme as well as manage funds from the CBN to guarantee its judicious use by farmers across the three senatorial districts within the state.
The committee is headed by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Joe Okojie, at the Government House, in Benin City, Edo State.
Mr. Obaseki said members of the committee were selected based on their expertise and accomplishments and not for political patronage.
He also said the programme is aimed at providing credit for agricultural transactions in the state and that the scheme is critical to his administration’s agricultural initiatives.
The idea behind the scheme, the governor explained, is to support large scale commercial agriculture so that their growth would stimulate and scale up the activities of small scale farmers.
“Time, experience and technology are very important in agriculture. We need to engage the services of consultants and experts to work with the committee and use the advantage of the dry season to our benefit,” he said.
He noted, however, that the state government was not interested in agribusiness to start farms, but in de-risking the process and creating an environment for entrepreneurs to emerge and thrive.
The obligations of the committee include: to oversee and ensure equitable distribution of fund; ensure proper monitoring and evaluation, guarantee integrity of each access to information; promote an efficient and inclusive participation of key stakeholders to ensure fund usage by beneficiaries are in line with the terms of the scheme; monitor the impact and constantly look for ways to improve the probability of reaching the expected result of the scheme.
The chairman of the committee, Joe Okojie, pledged to deliver on the obligations and promised to be fair and objective in the management of the credit facility.