The representative of the Apex Bank, Mr Matthew Badaiki, Assistant Director, Development Finance Office, Asaba, stated this in an interview with journalists following a meeting with farmers in Asaba.
He said that the programme would soon start yielding results and urged all prospective beneficiaries to open an account with BOA and obtain their Bank Verification Number (BVN).
“We have just finished with the first verification exercise being conducted by CBN, Bank of Agriculture and the Delta Ministry of Agriculture.
“After this, we will ask the farmers to come for their loan form and from then we shall have a one-on-one verification and monitor each project to know who are the real farmers, the absentee and the political farmers,” Badaiki said.
Badaiki reassured those farmers who still doubted the process to learn to have the “Spirit of I Can”, adding that Federal Government was resolute and committed to the programme.
“We are expecting bumper harvest from the farmers, so that we can stop the importation of rice and other food items and save our foreign exchange.
“This programme will work, the farmers have to have the spirit of I can, everything is in place and if it did not work, the farmers should be held responsible.
“So far, we have verified over 30,000 farmers but many of them are not cooperating with us in the area of BVN.
“Some of them are scared but BVN does not hunt anyone but will help us to know who are the real farmers, those who have taking loan before and owing another bank so that we can move forward,” he said.
He said that the fifth batch of beneficiaries were already submitted for processing in the state, adding that more names and account numbers were been expected for processing and full take off in the state.
He advised the farmers, particularly the rice farmers to exploit the opportunities in the River Basins to cultivate during the dry seasons in the state.
He assured the farmers that the programme was not partisan and advised that they should follow the set rules and regulations to key into the programme and get empowered.
Chief Austin Chikezie, Delta Commissioner for Agriculture lauded the programme and assured that farmers in the state would make good use of the opportunity.
He said that the state had comparative advantage in cassava, rice, palm oil and fisheries, adding that the period of implementing the programme in the state was not a challenge.
According to him, the programme is continuous and farmers would leverage on the opportunity to invest on those items that will thrive in this season of the year.
On his part, Mr Ambrose Nwabuzor, Manager, BOA, Asaba, said that issues raised at the meeting of stakeholders were being addressed and the programme would take off in a matter weeks from now in the state.
“In a couple of week the programme will kick-off in Delta and farmers will be supported with inputs such as seedlings, fertilizers, fingerlings among others.
“Cash will not be giving to farmers but input supply with may be a little cash to clear their environment if it is for crop production.
“The marketing of produce will not be a challenge because we have off takers ready to buy off the farmers produce, so there will not be any question of glut for the items,” Nwabuzor said.
An Off Taker, Mr. Raymos Guanah, confirmed that all arrangement had been concluded for the anchor programme to take off in the state.
Meanwhile, Chief Emmanuel Akpotozor, Palm Oil Farmer, said that he was skeptical about the programme because of the failed programmes in the past.
According to him, many promises have gone down the drain and famers were left without.
“But if the government can keep her promise and empower us with loan and materials we can engage more workers and increase our production to make more revenue”.