Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde on Thursday approved the release of one billion naira under the Sustainable Actions for Economic Recovery (SAFER) Programme, to be disbursed to the farmers in all the 33 local government areas of the State.
The Chairman of the Agricultural Credit Corporation of Oyo State (ACCOS), Sheikh Taofeek Akeugbagold during a press conference that was held at the Film Theater of the Ministry of Information, Secretariat, Ibadan explained that for ease of administration, the corporation has divided the entire state into seven zones and intends to commence a sensitisation campaign in all the zones, adding that the disbursement method will be unveiled at subsequent town hall meetings that will be held with the farmers across the highlighted zones.
Akeugbagold emphasised that the project will be fair and transparent, reiterating that “this project shall be non-partisan, as it shall be for the generality of legitimate farmers of Oyo State. Let me also emphasise that the exercise shall be in phases as all areas of agriculture such as crop, fishery, livestock, piggery, etc. shall be captured and fully integrated into the programme.”
According to him, the programme is an intervention programme and for ease of disbursement and to make sure that all zones are touched, micro-finance banks will be used for disbursement, adding that “the list of the successful micro-finance banks will be made public at or before the town hall meetings.”
He, however, warned that only serious farmers will be considered under the scheme as it is not free money to be shared, emphasising that farmers should not take more than they need.
“I wish to emphasise that this is not a national cake to be shared, but rather a revolving fund, to make sure that our farmers are in production to their capacity, to ensure adequate food security in our dear Oyo State. This corporation is still coming up with another programme that will also be of immense benefit to the generality of the masses and farmers in Oyo.
“It is to be called “GSM Food Bank.” However, I would like to advise the loanees or the would-be beneficiaries to be prudent with their loan request by not taking more than what they would need for their farming enterprise, while their guarantors painstakingly stand as surety for whatever loan request made by the loanees,” he added.
ACCOS came into existence by the Oyo State Edict No. 6 of 1986, primarily to provide credit support to smallholder farmers in the state; it is funded by a system of revolving accounts which were built up over the years.