It appeared that, in the list of the category of farmers to benefit from the Bankers’ Committee single-digit interest and moratorium, numbers of rubber farmers in Cross River State have not been included hence, the farmers have decried non-inclusion by the federal government.
Speaking on behalf of rubber estate owners in the state, numbering up to 207 farmers, one of them, Mr Hebrew Martins Akpan, said the obvious neglect of the farmers had denied at least 100, 000 people employed in the nation’s rubber industry.
According to THISDAY reports, Akpan, who stated this recently in Calabar, during a meeting between the farmers, and a representative of Imoniyame Holdings Limited, in Delta State, Mrs. Ufuoma Obrutse, urged the federal government to take another look at the policy, and ensure the inclusion of the farmers as part of those to benefit from the loans scheme.
Akpan also urged the federal government to revive the moribund Presidential Committee on Rubber, saying it would contribute to making Nigeria one of the leading producers of rubber in the country.
The spokesman of the rubber farmers said nine states in the southern part of Nigeria, considered as the rubber belt region, can produce the commodity for the entire needs of the rubber industry in Nigeria, the reports said.
“Rubber is a longstanding economic crop which should be accommodated in any incentive consideration. We can generate employment for nearly 100,000 directly and indirectly in the Niger Delta region which can certainly go along to calm restive youths as well as earn huge foreign exchange.
“Federal government should extend the intervention fund to rubber if they do not want it to go extinct. We are already facing huge challenges, and to exclude us may mean that the intention is to further dampen us whereas we are a more reliable economic bolster.
“Rubber has more challenges yet with greater benefits even though it has about seven years gestation period. Yet, too, it has generational value. So we need more assistance. We, therefore, call on the federal government to urgently review its statement so that we in the rubber sector can enjoy the same incentive,” he added.
Accordingly, Obrutse, who is the Managing Director of Imoniyame Holdings Limited, a leading player in the nation’s rubber industry has said that the marginalization of rubber farmers was unfair.
The reports have it that, he said the rubber industry can generate huge employment and attract huge foreign exchange if the federal government support the farmers adequately.
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