The State Project Coordinator, Kwara State FADAMA Coordination Office, Mr. Usman Akanbi, has said N155m has been disbursed as loans to farmers in the state.
Out of the sum, he said N97m was disbursed to the farmers in September 2012, while the current disbursement was N58m.
Akanbi said farmers who benefited from the second round of disbursement were those engaged in crop farming, fishery, poultry and other livestock production activities.
He reminded the farmers that the aims of the FADAMA project was to improve their productivity and returns, as well as to fulfil all statutory obligations for the scheme to be sustainable and for the farmers to have good management of their projects.
Akanbi said the benefiting farmers were drawn from all the wards of the 16 local government councils of the state, adding that they comprised 26 FADAMA community associations, each made up of a minimum of six groups with about 20 people in each of the groups.
According to him, the focal point of the scheme is production, processing, storage, marketing and down value chain activities of agricultural production.
The coordinator said 90 per cent of the farmers had justified the funds given to them in terms of physical inputs.
Akanbi advised the benefiting farmers to fully utilise the opportunities offered them by the scheme to enhance their agricultural activities, income and welfare.
He said, “The farmers should maximise this opportunity given to them. One day, the government may not have the kind of resources that it is pumping into the project now. The focus of the government is now more on commercially-oriented farming. Since the major part of the population comprises small farmers, we should create opportunities for them to have small holdings.
“If the government is giving them support, they should take full advantage of it so that the income the government is targeting will be realised and their productivity will increase. But if they fail to take advantage of it, in terms of management, not in terms of labour and finance requirement; they may regret it. They should put in all their best to ensure that the project is managed and sustained on the long run.
“Also for farmers to attract foreign intervention, they should step up on the environment. If you are producing, there must be a good way of disposing the waste. The environment must be clean because most of the products are for human consumption and there is increasing concern of the global community on how we manage our communities and wastes. If the farmers do it right, most donor agencies are going to show more interest and render assistance,”
He said there were lots of post-harvest losses, adding that the government should invest more in processing and storage of harvested agricultural produce to avoid excessive losses and boost food security.
The leader of Ifesowapo Vulnerable Health FADAMA Community Association from Asa Local Government, Mr. Fadesere Ademola, commended the activities of the scheme, saying the farmers had immensely benefited from it.