Food security: ODSG distributes tractors, loans to farmers
By Adekola Afolabi
Ondo state governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, yesterday flagged off 2020 planting season with the commissioning and distribution of 20 units of tractors and disbursement of loans to farmers in the state.
Speaking at the low key event held at the Government House Grounds, Alagbaka, Akure, Governor Akeredolu explained that the development which is the third of its kind in the life of his administration after over half a decade of neglect, was a demonstration of his government’s avowed commitment to the development of agriculture in the state.
A whopping sum of N47 million Agricultural Loans and Grants were disbursed to farmers and Commodities Associations to cushion the effects of COVID-19 pandemic and ensure food sufficiency in the state.
The event was held in compliance with physical and social distancing measures.
He noted that his administration has embarked on a number of measures and support programmes to mitigate the challenges that could hamper food production chain due to the ripple effects of COVID-19 pandemic.
Akeredolu said apart from the distribution of the 20 units of farm tractors with accompanying tillage implements to farmers at 30% subsidy, efforts were ongoing to buy additional implements that would enable tractors to do other auxiliary farm operations such as planting, weeding, spraying, harvesting and processing.
He explained that other support programmes to farmers included bush clearing of 1, 250 hectares in 15 locations across the state to open up more land for small holder farmers, large scale food production and commercial agriculture.
“Approval of palliative loan for disbursement to farmers at 6% interest rate as an intervention to guarantee food security during and after the covid-19 pandemic; release of the sum of N9,098,210.65k to Ondo State Agricultural Commodity Association (OSACA) and the sum of N1,819,642.13k to Ondo State Cooperative Federation Limited(OSCOFED) respectively from Agricultural Development Fund as grant to support agricultural development in the state.
“Distribution of improved maize seeds to farmers as part of palliative to cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic and ensure food security after the pandemic. In addition, the State Government has also concluded arrangement to distribute 500,000 cocoa and 50,000 cashew seedlings to farmers to further boost cocoa and cashew production in the state for this year 2020 planting season,” he stressed.
Governor Akeredolu further said the state government has accessed two billion naira Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS) loan for land clearing, youth empowerment and other agricultural development projects.