Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has sealed a deal with the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), for the expansion of the Edo Agripreneur Programme (EAP), to cover other crops aside grains.
The program is currently operating under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers’ Programme and covers only the cultivation of grains such as maize and rice.
The EAP is running across different locations, including Sobe, in Owan West Local Government Area.
Obaseki, speaking during his visit to the farm in Sobe, said the signing of the amended deal with NIRSAL became imperative following current EAP’s success.
He noted that the program will now accommodate poultry, piggery as well as the cultivation of root and tuber crops.
The Governor added that farming had become profitable under the program, urging more residents especially youths, to embrace the scheme.
He said the Agripreneur program was implemented to deal with challenges confronting farmers in the state, as it relates to access to land, market and other farm inputs.
He added that the assistance from NIRSAL to de-risk the investment ensured the EAP’s, saying: “We are encouraging large commercial farms. We want more local government councils to give us more land to extend our Agripreneur program,” he said.
Obaseki commended President Muhammadu Buhari for directing the CBN to provide support to smallholder farmers in the country, noting that Nigeria’s problems could only be solved by good leadership.
The Managing Director of NIRSAL, Aliyu Abdulhameed, said with the success of the program, funders and other stakeholders in the value chain would be encouraged to provide more funding under the model.
He said this year’s agripreneur maize farming program was successful with a 100 percent increase in yields from two tonnes of maize output obtained by farmers to four tonnes per hectare.
He added that the program would create about 17,000 jobs for Edo indigenes and N1.98 billion market value in the long run.
He said the program is aimed at supporting and improving the livelihood of 880 farmers on 4,400 hectares of land across the 18 Local Government Areas of the state.