By Festus Ahon
UGHELLIâ€”THE Exec utive Assistant to the Delta State Governor on Micro Credit, Dr. Antonia Ashiedu, has charged farmers across the country to conduct themselves in such a manner that would give them the opportunity to access government loans.
Ashiedu stated this yesterday in Ughelli, Delta State, during an interactive session with the women wing of the state chapter of All Farmers Association of Nigeria, (AFAN).
She said the government was poised to boost agriculture in the state, adding that the various state governmentâ€™s agriculture loans were aimed at assisting farmers to boost their produce.
She said: â€œAs at today, DMCP (Delta State Micro-Credit Programme) has a total of 3,453 groups comprising 38,338 persons, with the breakdown as follows; 13,727 men and 24,611 women. â€œWithin this number, we have 589 groups in the agriculture sector, with the breakdown as follows; 3,695 men and 3,357 women, total 7,052â€.
According to her, the number in the agricultural sector can be increased if the women could organize themselves properly.
He added that their women were engaged in every aspect of agriculture and agro processing.
Ashiedu pointed out that farming was their traditional and time-tested occupation and vocation in the state, stressing that a great percentage of the available human and natural resources of the state, if effectively mobilized and productively utilized into farming, could easily sustain a high growth rate in food security and ensure sustainable human development.
Ashiedu, however, insisted that â€œunless the farming sector is properly organized, there will be an inherent problem of insufficient attention in policy intervention and public assistance programmes.
She told them that the state Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, was very passionate about agriculture and has through the State Micro Credit Programme, provided fund to assist farmers on Micro and Small Scale level.
Speaking earlier, Delta State Chapter Chairman of AFAM, Mr. Jerry Ossai, told farmers not to divert loans granted them under agricultural loan and disclosed that the federal government would soon ban the importation of rice.
Also speaking, Mrs. Esther Wegbere, woman Leader, AFAM, Delta State chapter, charged farmers to remain firm in their determination to boost food production in the country.