Awka - The Anambra Government says it has set aside over N1 billion as loan for distribution to farmers affected by flood disaster across the state in 2012.
Gov. Peter Obi made the announcement on Saturday when he launched the 2013 farming season at the state Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) in Awka.
Obi said that the support was aimed at assisting the farmers to cushion the effect of the flood.
He said that agriculture remained the engine that would drive the state and national economies as well as key to achieving the vision of fighting extreme poverty and hunger.
The governor assured that his administration would sustain prompt payment of counter-part funding for agricultural programmes and empower farmers to attain their desired progress in their chosen vocation.
Obi, however, urged them to ensure prompt repayment of loans, to encourage government to provide more support for them and to enable other farmers to benefit.
“Government has always worked in partnership with farmers to improve agricultural output and to increase food production.''
The governor added that the effort was aimed at helping "the citizenry to have enough food on the table and return the lost glory in agriculture.”
In his message, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, congratulated the state government for taking the initiative.
Adesina, who was represented by a Director in the Ministry, Mr Albert Odukwe, said that the state had always played key role in supporting the Federal Government in agricultural projects.
The minister noted that Obi was the first governor to key into the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government.
Adesina said the governor was the only governor who physically registered the first farmer for the 2013 National Farmers Registration.
The minister expressed satisfaction that the state had registered 88,943 farmers in exercise and assured that the ministry would continue to support farmers in the state to achieve food sufficiency and security.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development in the state, Mr Ndubisi Menakaya, said that the occasion was an opportunity for the state government to demonstrate its' commitment toward the development of agricultural sector.
He stressed the need for farmers to know their role in the global fight against extreme poverty and hunger.
Menakaya said the state had concluded arrangements to partner with Rainbow Chicken of South Africa, to establish a mega poultry industry in the state.
He said that Obi had been adjudged the “Most Agric-Friendly Governor” in the country because of his giant strides in agricultural development.