The Agric Graduate Loan Scheme at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU) in Abia State has helped seven graduates.
The loans, which range from N120, 000 to N400, 000 each, were intended for fish farming, poultry and pig farming, cassava farming, egg production, palm oil production, and agricultural input sales and marketing.
Prof. Maduebibisi Ofo Iwe, the university’s Vice Chancellor, said the loan scheme was launched to produce self-sufficient graduate farmers in an interview with journalists to commemorate his first 100 days in office.
He revealed that the MOUAU Extension Center (MEC) loan scheme had faltered and gone into a coma due to a lack of funds a few years after it was established, but that it had been revived and funded by his administration.
“I set my mind on opening up the university’s vast land for farming purposes as soon as I was pronounced the VC,” Iwe said. “I reached out to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and requested assistance to enable us to open up farms by clearing 400 hectares of land.”
Financial constraints, he said, have been a major impediment to disbursement, and they’ve begun looking for alternative sources of funding while waiting for funds from the federal government.