Edo State government said a total of 35,000 farmers were registered for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrower programme in the state.
Bashir Kadiri, permanent secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, disclosed this in an interview with BusinessDay in Benin City.
Kadiri said in the current anchor borrower programme, farmers in the state would embark in the cultivation of cassava, maize and raising of livestock while rice production would be added in the nearest future.
There are about 2,000 cooperative societies in the state and each co-operator is expected to cultivate a minimum of one hectare and a maximum of five hectares, he said.
He added that verification exercise had already been carried out in two local government areas, while the exercise was yet to be done in others, saying that the verification exercise was to authenticate the claims of the co-operator, whether they were genuine farmers, possess the actual hectare of farmland, among others.
The permanent secretary, who explained that the programme was mainly for smallholder farmers, added that the CBN would disburse money directly to the farmer.
He said the duty of the state government was to verify the claims of the cooperatives and send its final assessment to the CBN who would then deal directly with the farmers upon submission of their Bank Verification Number (BVN) to the apex bank.
He however enjoined the benefitting farmers to make use of the fund judiciously, noting that the programme had the potential of transforming them from smallholders to large-scale farmers.
Recall that the Edo State House of Assembly had on May 30, 2017, given nod to the state government to access N11 billion agricultural development loans from the CBN.
The loans to be accessed by the state government are the N6 billion CBN Anchor Borrower facility, N5 billion to fund agro-project in the state and the Federal Government Special Intervention on Fertilizer programme.