by crossriverwatch admin
Mrs Obioma Imoke, wife of the Cross River State governor, Senator Liyel Imoke has in the last one year facilitated N98.37 loans for women cooperative societies in Cross River State to aid them in agricultural activities.
Mrs Imoke who facilitated the loan through one of her women empowerment programs, Project AWAKE, saw the granting of 187 cooperative societies loan which benefited over 1,870 women across the state.
Mrs Rosemary Achonwa, the director of Project AWAKE told CrossRiverWatch in Calabar that the cooperative societies were located during an Enterprise Assessment exercise which AWAKE in conjunction with Medium Enterprise Development Agency, MEDA, conducted round the state between 2012 and 2013 to validate and determine the nature and scope of operations of each cooperative group.
According to Achonwa, a total of 210 Cooperative Societies engaged in primary production and micro processing of agricultural products ranging from maize, cassava, groundnuts, plantain and banana cultivation, rice storage, palm oil processing, broiler production and fish farming were selected for the loan which was granted by the Bank of Agriculture. “To date, 187 cooperative societies with about 1,870 women have accepted the loans, completed the documentation and drawn funding support totaling N98.37 million”
The Project AWAKE Director said the project which is scheduled to run for an initial period of three years, 2012-2015, is expected to cover all the political wards in the state, with at least two cooperatives in a ward benefiting from the loan. “A total of at least 400 women cooperatives of 10 members each in cluster of communities around the state are expected to benefit from the project and result in the creation of over 4,000 Agric businesses or women Agri-preneurs”.
Mrs Achonwa stated that the goal of Project AWAKE is to reduce poverty and hunger in the communities across the state and promote gender equality, empower the women and create 4000 women entrepreneurs.
She said the second phase of the Enterprise Assessment is ongoing with the aim of filling the gaps and adequately spreading the number of beneficiaries across the three senatorial districts of the state. “a lot of emphasis is being placed on identifying cooperatives from wards not covered in previous assessments exercise because of difficult terrain”
She said in the second phase of the project, women in riverine, marshy, hilly areas will be reached to enable them benefit from the impact of the project. “So far 180 cooperative groups have been assessed and 132 selected to benefit from the second round of intervention.” Achonwa stated.
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