Perez Brisibe, Paul Olayemi
SAPELE – AFTER two weeks capacity building at the Songhai Delta, Amukpe, Sapele Local Government Area, about 250 beneficiaries of the Delta State World Bank Assisted Hybrid Tomatoes Farming Project left disappointed as the organisers introduced some form hidden conditions into the programme.
The programme, under the World Bank sponsored, State Employment and Expenditure For Results, SEEFOR, was intended, as part of the State Job Creation efforts, to enhance capacity among prequalified exotic crops growers, particularly tomatoes farmers, across Delta and support them with yet unspecified starter package, including cash, to develop their own farms as the training ended Friday.
Disappointment set in after Dr. Theo Okpidi, Executive Consultant at the Songhai Delta, training ground for the project, told participants to go to their respective homes and return in a later date for their starter support materials.
Okpidi said, “The programme has ended. I am made to understand that we may not be able to distribute to you the starter support materials as originally programmed. The organisers have asked you to go home and come back later to collect your materials.
“I have equally been informed that you all we have to form yourselves into cooperatives as the best way to get your cash support. My advice is that those from same localities should come together to register a cooperatives and prepare yourselves for the release of the empowerment support which you are expected to pay back.”
One of the disappointed participants said, “I am very disappointed. This is a programme they said World Bank has approved and money released for all benefits to us. Now they are asking us to go home and return on a later date without even consideration for transportation. Noting is given.
“Some of us came from Asaba, Burutu, Patani and several distant locations. From going to Asaba for screening till now, no kobo has been given. And then we all came here as individuals and were told we will benefit as individuals. Why is the sudden hidden condition of forming cooperatives being introduced now? We hope someone is not prancing us.”