Chairman, Nigeria Cassava Growers Association in Niger, Alhaji Sule Garba, has said that 80 per cent of its members in the state have accessed the Federal Government’s N1.2 billion loan currently disbursed by the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) to farmers.
Garba made the disclosure in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna, recently, saying, “My happiness is that the Bank of Agriculture has started disbursing the N1.2 billion loan meant for my members.
“This is contrary to rumours among farmers that the national and state executive members have shared their registration fees for the loan among themselves.
“In Niger state, I registered 1.9 million cassava farmers and 80 per cent of them have been given N150, 000 each by the Bank of Agriculture,’’ he said.
He said that the Federal Government granted the loan to the Cassava Growers Association across the country, to ensure that it met the target for both local and foreign demand for cassava.
The association’s chairman said that the loan was being disbursed in the ratio of N150,000 per hectare of land, adding that the N1.2 billion released by government was for the first batch.
He said he was not sure when the second batch of the loan of the released and how much was involved.
Garba said that 80 percent of the members who had received the loan in the state were from zones `A’ and `C’, adding that the bank manager for Minna branch of the bank promised to disburse that of zone `B’ as soon as he resumed from vacation in April.
He said that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development was collaborating with some research institutes to get the farmers high yielding cassava stems for cultivation.
The chairman appealed to the ministry to provide the cassava farmers with various processing machines, to encourage them to produce enough cassava for local and foreign use.