The Ebonyi State Government said it has secured N8billion loan from some financial institutions for the 2018 cropping season.
The state’s Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Ikechukwu Nwobo made the announcement on Friday at a news conference held in Abakaliki.
Nwobo said that the loan which had low interest rates, was secured to boost agricultural production in the state and encourage farmers to engage in modern farming activities.
The commissioner disclosed that the facility would be given to genuine farmers and youths who intend to engage in agriculture activities for the 2018 farming season.
“The state government has secured N8 billion agric loan to be distributed to farmers in this 2018 planting season to boost their yield. This money will be given as loan to interested farmers and idle youths who are willing to invest in agriculture at low interest rates,” he added.
Nwobo emphasised on the need to shift attention from oil revenues to agribusiness, adding that it is imperative to develop and strengthen the country’s agricultural sector as a pathway in achieving economic growth and development.
He further stressed on the state’s commitment under the leadership of Gov. Dave Umahi to restore agriculture to its pride of place, by engaging the services of 20,000 to 30,000 farmers that would be actively involved in aggressive rice farming come 2018.
The commissioner stated that over 60,000 hectares of land had been mapped out for rice and cassava cultivation in the state this year, adding that they intend to make Ebonyi remain the largest rice producing state in the country.
“Our farmers can make more money by engaging in modern agricultural production, including poultry, snail, fishery, and piggery farming.
“Time has come for us to make a radical shift from overdependence on oil revenues by developing the agricultural sector as alternative source of revenue generation.
“The state government has revolutionised the agricultural sector to make it, not only lucrative but also attractive,’’ he said.