Farmers participating in the Edo Agriprenuership Scheme have lauded the state government for introducing the programme, aimed at boosting their harvest and income.
Some of the farmers, who made the commendation in Benin, said the scheme would encourage the youths to take to farming and also expose the participants to mechanised farming.
The state government is helping farmers in the Agriprenuership Programme to access the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers’ Loan, at nine per cent interest rate.
Gloria Ogala, a yam and rice farmer at Illushi, Esan South-East Local Government Area of the state, said she joined the scheme because of the affordable loans to the farmers.
“We find it difficult to access loan here at Illushi, and the loans come with high interest rates.
“For instance, if you borrow N200,000 at the beginning of a planting season, you pay back N400,000 at the end of the planting season; and this will drastically affect your profit.
“I am happy because the state government wants us to make good profit from farming,” she said.
John Aregbokhia, from Waraka, Owan-East LGA, said the programme would encourage youths to take to farming as a business, going by the profit to be made at the end of each farming season.
“We usually make about N1 million from 20 hectares of rice farm; but we have been told that we can make about N4 million from 20 hectares of rice, this is really wonderful.
“I have no doubt that the programme will be a success because we did something similar last year, and the outcome was positive.
Kanabe Ahmed, a rice farmer in Agenebode, Estako-East Local Government Area, said:
”This is a good initiative because they assured us of farm inputs and that the government will link us with off takers to buy the products at the end of the planting season.
“The use of mechanisation is not stressful; it is better than what we have been doing, which is energy-sapping and time consuming.
“The state government wants to help us to leave peasant farming and to embrace commercial farming.”
He, however, urged the state government to start the programme on time before the end of the planting season.