The Federal Government has disbursed N2.2bn to the 444 agricultural-based cooperative societies in 148 local government areas out of the 774 LGs in the country. The measure is part of the efforts to boost agricultural production in Nigeria.
The three agricultural-based cooperative societies selected from each of the 148 LGAs received N500,000 each for group agricultural activities for investment in enterprises along the agricultural value chain and operated through a micro-credit finance process. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on
Millennium Development Goals, Dr. Precious Gbeneol, disclosed this in Abuja during the inauguration of the MDGs micro-credit grants to 444 agric-based co-operative societies in 148 local governments.
According to her, the initiative remains one of the pivotal strategies of her office to complement all poverty alleviation and employment initiatives of the Federal Government. The scheme is expected to positively improve on the economic activities in the rural areas. She however pledged that the number of the benefitting societies would be scaled up to 630 this year to accommodate other agric-based societies across the country.
Gbeneol said, “It is our expectation that with the successful inauguration of this initiative, the 444 agric-based cooperative societies in the 148 local government areas across the country will go back to their communities to make judicious use of this opportunity accorded them by the committed leadership of this administration.”
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on MDGs, Mr. Al-Hassan Doguwa, warned the beneficiaries not to misappropriate the money given to them. He said, “I want to urge the beneficiaries to use the money given to them judiciously. You should avoid the temptation of using the grant to invest in building houses and other businesses; instead you should do the right thing accordingly. You need to be committed to ensure you are fruitful in your business.”
According to him, the National Assembly is committed to ensuring that the country meets the MDGs target by 2015. One of the beneficiaries from Sarduana LGA, Taraba State, Mr. Abraham Kaduna, expressed satisfaction with the activities of MDGs office in the state while also commending the initiative . Kaduna said, “It is wonderful, because for us in Sarduana Local Government, any time we hear about MDGs, we know that it is something genuine.
It has been a success story in our local government . Most of our schools, clinics you see that MDGs has renovated them. “When they came on the issue of this cooperative, we were happy and highly elated because we know that when they say something, it is going to be done . We are not surprised that they invited us here and say each of these cooperative will receive N500,000 for us to go and engage in agro business which is the bed rock of what we have been doing. “You know the source of employment in the rural areas is agriculture and this thing is going to go a long way to help our people and remove them out of poverty.”