AFRICUNIA, an international organisation with wide spread in the United Kingdom, Europe, United States of America and other continents of the world, has extended her humanitarian services and philanthropy to Nigeria with Anambra as the pilot state where it plans to empower farmers with monetary assistance for agricultural expansions.
Executive Secretary of Africunia Ecosystem and Africunia Bank, Madeleine Winkler, who addressed farmers drawn from the 21 local government areas of Anambra State at De Destination Relaxation Centre in Awka, said Africunia aims at lifting farmers from poverty to enterprise owners, describing agriculture as the mainstay of virtually all economies in the world.
Winkler explained that Africunia was in Africa for the less privileged people and to also bring financial inclusion to the common man. She said Africunia is registered in the UK and Canada respectively. According to her, Africunia is also registered in Zambia and will be registered in Tanzania and Nigeria as well.
Winkler disclosed that they were in Anambra State to identify real farmers they can assist with financial empowerments to enable them to grow, as well as expand their agricultural base. She added that the mission to Anambra was to encourage massive food production to mitigate future food crisis and also to encourage youths to go into agriculture.
She said farmers in Anambra State were told how they could apply for Africunia grants as they intend to train the farmers on mechanised farming and also buy 90% of their farm produce to enable the farmers concentrate directly on the next farming season, adding that it would be a long term project in the agricultural sector.
The Africunia representative also noted that farmers affected by the 2022 flood disaster have an opportunity to apply for the grants to enable them have another fresh start in the next farming season, adding that the farmers will not pay back the money but the major concern according to her, was that the grants will strictly be used for farming.
Winkler further disclosed that there would be screening and thorough scrutiny of the beneficiaries in order to fish out political farmers from the real farmers before disbursements were made. She said that the grants were for rural farmers and less privileged farmers.
According to her, there would be no middle man, no third party and no stories as the monies would be transferred to the benefiting farmers directly into the accounts they would open with Africunia Bank to make the entire process trouble-free and transparent.
One of the farmers who attended the meeting with Africunia, Opara Chidi from Awgbu, in Orumba-North Local Government Area of Anambra State, who specialises in cassava and poultry production, told our correspondent shortly after the meeting that his attendance was a prayer answered because he has not seen people that have money to give and still beg people to come and collect free of charge to better their own lives.
Chidi, who said land tenure system, insecurity and off-taking were some challenges farmers faced in the state, maintained that if he gets the Africunia grant, it would help tremendously to boost and expand his agro business.
Another farmer,Mr. Festus Obidozie, the Chief Executive Officer of New Dimensions Agricultural City Limited, said he is a practical farmer and that before the grants would be given, there would be trainings which would be anchored by experts in the agricultural sector. He said they would equally ensure that political farmers were fished out.
Obiajulu Nwoye, National Financial Secretary of Yam Farmers Processors and Marketers, who also doubles as the First Vice Chairman of All Farmers Association, Anambra State, noted that farmers in Anambra lack financial empowerments to expand their cultivations and agricultural practices but he expressed hope that the grant from Africunia will enable farmers to do more to enhance food production.
Meanwhile the Chairman, All Farmers Association, Anambra State, Chief Leo Ukatu, said he was very happy that Africunia extended her philanthropy to farmers in Anambra State. Ukatu said that all the farmers in the state would be involved as the intervention from Africunia was rare and not an everyday occurrence while expressing profound gratitude to Africunia for a golden opportunity for farmers in Anambra to become wealth creators, enterprise owners and guarantors of food security.