The Osun State government has kicked off its farming empowerment programme with the distribution of N2.2 million loans to selected tomato and pepper growers in the state, aimed at boosting food production.
The empowerment program is being executed through the Osun Micro Credit Agency in order to assist beneficiaries in increasing their capacity.
While presenting the cheque to program beneficiaries on behalf of the governor, the agency’s manager, Dayo Babaranti, explained that the initiative was aimed at encouraging youths in agriculture to be self-reliant.
He asserted that Gov. Oyetola’s administration would continue to channel efforts towards creating job opportunities for the unemployed youths.
Babaranti added that the state government’s empowerment program is in threefold, benefiting not only tomato growers but cassava and jathropha growers as well.
He reiterated that no fewer than 26, 000 people have benefited so far in the loan scheme since its establishment on June 2, 2014.
He also expressed that Gov. Oyetola, in his bid to empower countless youths and ensure that the state is economically buoyant enough to provide for its citizens, approved the loan program to support farmers across the state.
According to Babaranti, the first set of beneficiaries were selected from amongst four local government areas; –Boluwaduro, Boripe, Obokun and Ifelodun–after having inspected their farmland.
Lawal Sikiru Omotunde, chairman of the Tomato and Pepper Growers Association of Nigeria, Osun State chapter, commended the government, noting that the loan would help them to expand their operation and earn more.
Another beneficiary, Okunola Akeem, added that with the financial assistance, the state would soon become a hub for many agricultural products in the South West.