BY PATRICK OCHOGA, Benin City –
To provide guarantee for agribusiness investments in the state, the Edo State Government has partnered with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to set up a N500 million Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS).
Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, revealed this at the inauguration of the committee to oversee the scheme at the Government House in Benin City, Edo State capital. The scheme is intended to de-risk investments in agriculture in Edo State.
The governor said the programme, which was set up by the federal government through the CBN, is to provide credit for agricultural transactions in the state, stressing that the programme is very critical to his administration’s agricultural initiatives.
He added that the state government was not interested in agribusiness to start farms, but only interested in de-risking the process and creating the enabling environment for entrepreneurs to emerge and thrive.
The members of the nine-man committee headed by special adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Prince Joe Okojie, according to Obaseki, were selected based on their expertise and accomplishments, noting that it was not another avenue for political patronage.
Governor Obaseki, said the committee members would serve as monitoring team and also manage funds from the CBN to guarantee its judicious use by farmers across the three senatorial districts.
He emphasised that the idea was to support large scale commercial agriculture so that their growth would stimulate and scale up activities of small scale farmers.
“Time, experience and technology are very important in agriculture. We need to engage the services of consultants and experts to work with the committee and use the advantage of the dry season to our benefit,” he said.
He said that over N500 million was already available from expected funds and outlined their terms of reference to include: to oversee and ensure equitable distribution of fund; promote an efficient and inclusive participation of key stakeholders; ensure proper monitoring and evaluation, guarantee integrity of each access to information; to ensure fund usage by beneficiaries are in line with the terms of the scheme; to monitor the impact and constantly look for ways to improve the probability of reaching the expected result of the scheme.
In his vote of thanks, chairman of the Committee, Prince Joe Okojie, pledged to deliver on their terms of reference and promised to be fair and objective in the management of the credit facility.