Makurdi – Mr Chris Omiyi, the Group Managing Director, Oracle Group of Companies, says the group plans to transform its integrated farms into a research centre to enhance farmers’ capabilities in agribusiness.
Omiyi said this on Tuesday in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the Naka Road farm of the group in Makurdi.
He said that the farms were gradually turning into a research centre, owing to its high quality of resource persons.
NAN reports that the Oracle conglomerate, which started operations about 20 years ago, is owned by Gov Samuel Ortom of Benue.
Omiyi said: “We are heading toward making it a research centre where farmers would be trained in their efforts to achieve improved output.’’
He said the farms had very competent workers who were even fabricating spare parts for the company’s machinery.
He called on farmers across the state to take due advantage of the farms by acquiring professional skills in agribusiness.
Omiyi denied certain allegations that snakes were bred on the farms, saying: “There is no element of truth in that assertion.
“It is a mere fabrication of idle minds because in our programme, we don’t have plans for snakes and there is no need for them.
“What we are trying to do is to multiply snails, not snakes; these are two different things. We are starting with 2,000 snails and this is not our first time of breeding snails.’’
He said the oracle group farms, which were among the three biggest farms in the state, had a target production of 5,000 tonnes of rice per annum.
Besides, Omiyi said that the company was pioneering a project in the state called “cassava peels conversion process’’ which involved the conversion of cassava peels into animal feeds.
He said that the experts in the company’s farms were working on animals feeds that would aid the efforts of herdsmen to fatten up their cattle.
He noted that the herdsmen’s cattle often lost so much weight while trekking long distances in search of grass, with the attendant risk of encountering conflicts with farmers in the process.
According to him, it will be easier for the herdsmen to keep their cattle in ranches and buy feeds that would provide better nutrients for the cattle.
Omiyi, however, called for a synergy between farmers and herdsmen to avoid conflicts over grazing lands.
“Farmers and herdsmen can coexist without crises; it is just a matter of understanding,’’ he added
He said that the Oracle group was no longer funded and managed by the governor, adding that Ortom had disengaged from the company before 2011.
“We have taken loans from FCMB, NEXIM Bank and UBA; we have three facilities running that we are paying now; I go to the banks as the GMD to negotiate loans in my name,’’ he said. (NAN)