By Sunday Oguntuyi, Osogbo
To further boost the economy of the state and create employment opportunities for the teeming youths, the Osun State Government, on Monday, kicked off its farming empowerment program with the disbursement of N2.2 million to members of tomato and pepper growers association.
The empowerment programme is being implemented by the state government through the Osun Micro Credit Agency.
Presenting the cheque to the beneficiaries, on behalf of the state Governor Gboyega Oyetola, the General Manager Osun Micro Credit Agency, Prince Dayo Babaranti disclosed that the gesture is aimed at empowering the youths of the state so as to be self reliant.
Babaranti said the present administration of Governor Oyetola would leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the problem of unemployment is reduced to the bearest minimum in the state. He added that Governor Oyetola who is passionate about the development of the state in all ramifications has approved the empowerment programme to kick off in three phases, declaring that apart from the tomatoes growers, the sum of N5 million has already been set aside for cassava and japthropha growers respectively. This is expected to be closely followed by Cocoa Farmers empowerment and others.
As of date no fewer than 26, 000 people have benefited so far in the loan being dolled out by the agency since its establishment in June 2, 2014.
Babaranti assured the growers representatives that the revolving loan would be a continuous exercise as Governor Oyetola would ensure the empowerment programme of farmers and Osun teeming youths is sustained. He said this would translate to an economically bouyant State which could also cater for its citizens.
He remarked that the year 2020 first set of beneficiaries were selected from four local government areas, having inspected their farm lands and convinced of their sincerity of purpose and past impressive harvests in tomato farming
The council areas according to him are Boluwaduro, Boripe, Obokun and Ifelodun Local Governments.
Babaranti who explained that the loan given to the tomato growers is a test case, urged the beneficiaries not to disappoint the government by making judicious use of the money and ensure it’s refund on or before the stipulated time.
Commending the government, one of the beneficiaries, Mr Lawal Sikiru Omotunde said they would forever be grateful to Governor Oyetola whom he described as a man of the people.
Omotunde, who is the Chairman, Tomato and Pepper Growers Association of Nigeria, Osun State chapter, said majority of them find it difficult to accomplish their aims despite the zeal they have for the farming business as a result of lack of fund. He added that with this loan Intervention it would now be easier for them to earn more in the business.
He recalled the difficulties they did undergo in the course of accessing loan from those money lenders Organizations because of huge interest rate , adding that Governor Oyetola’s effort in boosting the state economy through Agriculture would in no small measure yield positive results.
Echoing similar views, another beneficiary , Mr Okunola Akeem said they were very happy with the philanthropic gesture of the governor.
Akeem said there is no doubt that Gov Oyetola really mean well for the youths of the state , he added that with this financial assistance , the state would soon become a hub of many agricultural produces in the South West.