No fewer than 9,000 farmers in Enugu State have applied for the state government’s one billion naira agricultural loan facility.
The Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in Enugu, Chief Alfred Eneh, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Thursday.
Eneh said the farmers had been registered by AFAN for the exercise, stressing that farmers were waiting for the loan, which they had long expected.
“The information is that the money is now in the state and we are instructed to fill our forms for the disbursement.
“During the last registration of farmers in the state, we registered 9,939 and that is not to say this is the overall number we have in the state.
“There are farmers that have not shown interest to identify with us and we are encouraging them to make themselves available in order to benefit from this government largesse,” he said.
Eneh appealed to the state government to ensure that the loan was disbursed to genuine farmers in the state.
The chairman said that their experiences in the past were enough to make them express reservations on the modalities for the disbursement.
“Already, we have started noticing signals of a possible hijack of the loan scheme by politicians for their selfish interest.
“We are already seeing strange faces coming for this facility in the banks where the money is domiciled and we appeal to government to check this fraud,” he said.
Eneh said that AFAN needed to be carried along to identify the genuine farmers for whom the loan was meant for.
“Most of the people coming for this loan have no farms, no agricultural projects to show and we are worried that at the end they will be the ones that will benefit.
“This issue of attempting to hijack facilities and schemes meant for farmers is a recurring one.
“The last time the governor gave us 60,000 bags of fertilisers, some politicians and traditional rulers wanted to hijack it, saying that the governor used it to compensate them.
“It only took resistance from the farmers to ensure that the fertilisers got to our members.
“We want the government to carry us along so that when the loan would have been given out to our members, the process of repayment will be guaranteed by AFAN,” Eneh said.