Over 3000 venerable farmers in Akwa Ibom State across the 31 local government areas in the state are to benefit from the N100,000 soft interest-free loans from the state government.
Commissioner for agriculture and women affairs, Dr Glory Edet, gave the breakdown of the beneficiaries in a-one-day sensitization forum for prospective dry season vegetable farmers in Akwa Ibom State in Uyo, recently.
Dr Edet averred that the soft loans would encourage vegetable farmers to produce more vegetables ill the state, and admonished them to properly utilize the loans in their respective farms for profit which will enable them repay in the period of one year.
"We have already given over 3000 vegetable farmers' forms, collected their bank details and verified what they are doing. So, with this loan, it will really help the farmers in their farming.
Some of them were appealing for soft loons of N20,000 to N30,000, but Governor has decided to give each of them not less N100,000,â€ she disclosed.
She hinted that mechanisms are on ground to check and monitor tile beneficiaries from various Local Government Areas, as well as to give them the technical know-how fix effective utilization of the loans.
Earlier in her remarks, the chairman, Agriculture Loans Board (ALB), Mrs. Elsie Esara, reeled government plans for farmers and Agricultural Sector in the state, stressing that Gov Emmanuel is poised to achieving food sufficiency and sustainability by making sure those behind the agricultural wheels have access to quality funding, support and tight education.
She pleaded with the beneficiaries not to divert the fund for other businesses, but effectively use for agriculture purposes and prompt repayment as more funding and agriculture support programmes will be initiated and existing ones sustained.
In her keynote address entitled: "Efficiency in Loans Management,â€ Mrs. Victoria Iboro elaborated on the proper utilisation of the loan and how the farmers can achieve good annual turnover.
Mrs Victoria advised the farmers to focus on the cultivation of one crop so they can tend to their farms and monitor the progress, maintaining that the minds will be promptly disbursed in order to encourage the next batch of farmers to tap into the lofty ideals of the government.
Educating the participants, the Zonal Director, Heritage Bank, Akwa Ibom State, Pastor Godwin Ukwat, advised the beneficiaries to ensure the loon is used for the intended purpose as it is not a consumption loan but commercial loans to aid the improvement of their produce.
Pastor Ukwat further advised the beneficiaries to make plans towards the repayment process even before the disbursement of the loan as the bank will work in partnership with the ministry to ensure the loan is disbursed on time.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Agriculture, Mr John Maxson, while corroborating with the Director of Agriculture advised the beneficiaries particularly the women to make farming a priority so they can support their families.
The Director of Agriculture in the Ministry, Mr Emmanuel Akpan, pointed out the viability of seeds as one of the major factors in vegetable farming and advised the farmers to always visit the ministry of Agriculture for direction on how to get quality seeds and other farm technologies,
Mr Akpan called on the farmers to form a cooperative society to enable the Ministry train them on farm processes.
Chairman All Farmers Association, Prince Bassey Inwang, speaking on behalf other farmers applauded Governor Emmanuel for appointing Dr Glory Edet into the Ministry of Agriculture and promised that the association will partner the Agric Ministry in monitoring the loans by ensuring prompt repayment.