Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko said yesterday, Tuesday, that his administration had secured a ₦4.5 billion loan package for farmers, to boost food production.

Wamakko announced this at the launching of 2013/2014 dry season rice paddy production; an occasion used to roll out farm inputs under the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme at Keta village in Goronyo Local Government Area.

The governor said that dry season rice and tomato farmers would benefit from a joint ₦2.5 billion loan out of the amount.

“The money will be given out to genuine farmers, in conjunction with Zenith Bank.”

The governor also said that ₦2 billion would be disbursed to 7,000 cassava farmers.

“The state government will pay ₦143.5 million interest on the loan on behalf of the beneficiaries.”

The governor also stated that government would also spend ₦35 million to register farmers under the Cassava Farmers Association of Nigeria.

The governor said that the gesture was aimed at encouraging more people to go into farming.

“This is to ensure food security, reduce unemployment, poverty and curb rural-urban drift.”

Also speaking, the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, was represented by the Federal Director of Agriculture in the state, Dr. Jubril Anesi, said that 58,000 farmers would benefit from the GES in the state.

Adesina, who announced that the farmers would get fertilizer, an agrolyser and 25kg bag of rice paddy free of charge.

He explained that a bag of urea sells for ₦2,750 while a bag of NPK cost ₦3,250.

The Minister however added that “The state government will pay 50 per cent of the cost of the package for each farmer under the GES”