Cross River, Fidelity Bank Give Farmers N1B Agric Loans
L-R: MRS PATRICIA UBI, JUSTICE RICE PROCESSING MPCS AND MR ENEMBE OKON, BENEFICIARIES OF THE CROSS RIVER STATE/FIDELITY BANK N1 BILLION AGRICULTURE LOAN SCHEME.
Governor Imoke said it is in realization of the value that government is encouraging them to be involved in the value chain of what they produce not just harvest and sell but seeing them being produced to create value chain which could culminate into big time business in Cassava, Plantain, Cocoa, Oil Palm and rice productions because the one who processes them gets the value for them.
He explained that the era when government owned agricultural plantation or estates is over because it provided opportunities for competition between farmers and government and now government wants to encourage them, adding that government has diverted from the old thought as it is prepared to work with them rather than compete with them in order to create value.
The governor observed that Nigerian farmers have the lowest yield because no attention has been paid to improve agriculture, explaining that the distribution of cheques was not about party membership but for those who are farmers and are contributing to the community while urging them to understand that it is a loan and if it works, it will add value to boost the sector.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and National Resources, Dr. Sandy Onor, said the State is totally committed to agriculture and has made huge investment in it as the process was not politicized while Fidelity Bank has been faithful and has organized a seminar and beneficiaries had promised to do justice to agriculture by doing the work the loan is meant for, stressing that what was seen was an icing on the cake as government has shown commitment in all ongoing jobs as all projects have been paid for while ADP, FADAMA Community projects do not lack funds.
Dr. Onor said the State would no longer be a rural market and the farmers must produce and process their produce and should move along with the vision of the State Governor because it was high time they moved into big time business.
The Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Reginald Ihejiahi, said the bank was proud to be associated with the State in its pursuit of the development of the real sector of the economy by providing financial support for the growth of the agricultural economy, adding that they were excited because it was one initiative that would impact directly on the masses by enhancing and improving food production and availability.
Mr. Ihejiahi, who was represented by Mrs. Francisca Effiom, disclosed that they were aware that the State is one of the few in the country that is renowned for its commitment to agriculture and immense contribution to the nation’s battle against the emerging food crisis through the profligate agricultural activities of its farmers whose high yield produce are exported to other parts of the country, saying that it is an understanding that reinforces their strong conviction that the partnership with the State Ministry of Agriculture and National Resources on the scheme would be highly productive and successful.