…As Over 500 smallholder farmers benefit from CBN inputs distribution in Imo***
Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Prof. Nelson Brambaifa promised on Sunday to ensure that the commission commences payment of debts owed to contractors, very soon.
Brambaifa gave the assurance at a thanksgiving service held at the Chapel of the Annunciation Catholic Chaplaincy at the University of Port Harcourt, in honour of his family.
He assured, that the new management of the commission would assiduously work to deliver on its mandate within the shortest possible time.
“The management is currently clearing debts of N10 million and below and we are hoping to increase it to N20 million soon for other contractors.
“Our aim is that contractors will stay in their house and get bank alerts. We don’t want them to be coming to NDDC headquarters, strolling all over the place.
“We will get to N20 million and above gradually. This is because the race of a thousand mile starts with a first step and we are at the first step,” he said.
Brambaifa said it would be impossible to drive development in the region if the people did not embrace peace.
The managing director called on the people to be patient with the new management and give it time to deliver on its mandate.
“We are a new kid on the block, going by being one month in office. We know that a lot of work needs to be done to fulfill our mandate.
“We are urging the people to remain calm because there cannot be development without peace. We are doing our best to maintain peace,” he said.
Speaking, Prof. Ndowa Lale, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, congratulated Brambaifa on his recent appointment as acting managing director of NDDC.
Lale said the university was happy with the appointment of its two former students into key positions in the new NDDC management.
“I have told them that they should be light to UNIPORT, just like God said let there be light in the Bible,” he told Brambaifa.
Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) Anchor Borrowers’ Programme for the 2019 wet season farming is targeting to favourably benefit no fewer than 525 farmers in Imo State from agricultural inputs distribution. The initiative would cover nine local government areas of the state.
A statement by Ms Anne Ihugba, the Head, Corporate Communications of the Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), in Abuja on Sunday, said the inputs would be administered through the NIRSAL.
Ihugba listed the benefiting council areas to include Mbaitolu, Ideato North and South, Nwangele, Oguta, Ohaji-Egbema, Oru West, Isu and Okigwe.
She quoted Mrs Nkechi Osuji, the Head of NIRSAL’s Project Monitoring, Reporting and Remediation Office (PMRO), in Imo State, as saying that the programme would address problems of low-quality inputs, pests and diseases.
Osuji said it would also tackle the issue of poor agronomic practices and other challenges faced by smallholder farmers.
“NIRSAL’s focus is to address the various bottlenecks in the cassava value chain in the South-East.
“This is the reason why NIRSAL is providing the farmers with improved cassava stems, fertilisers and, most importantly, crop protection chemicals to help them boost their production and achieve high yield at the end of the farming season.
“Cassava farmers under the Aloha ticket, who have in the past suffered weed, disease and pest infestations on their farms, can now be rest assured that a solution to their challenges has come,’’ she said.
Ihugba also noted that farmers in other south-east states would also benefit from inputs distribution under the CBN agriculture programme.
According to her, over 5,600 cassava farmers in Enugu and 90 in Ebonyi would also receive inputs.
She said that 1,160 rice farmers in Anambra State, each cultivating one hectare, are on the programme, while 702 cocoa farmers in Abia State, would receive inputs under the programme.