From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
A retired Naval Officer, Azeez Oluwole, who is the Chief Executive Officer, FarmKonnect Agribusiness Nigeria Plc, has said nobody should drag the name of Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, in the mud, based on some wrong notions being circulated on the social media in respect of delay in payment schedules for investors in the company.
Addressing a press conference in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, Oluwole explained the company established a multimillion naira snail village in Ekiti State, and the company actually invited Governor Fayemi to commission the facility, which he did. He added that the governor was not involved in the business and that he should not be maligned on the social media.
Oluwole, however, explained what caused the delay in the scheduled payment: “This year started with a Force Majeure, after we launched the snail village in Ekiti State, and for the first time in four years, we had a wind disaster and lost over N300million worth of equipment and over N70million worth of snail were killed.
“After this had happened, we ran to our insurance provider, laid the complaint, they inspected the site and reported that we have a claim. How do you have a claim if there was no incidence and insurance to cover such? In July, the claim was paid. But over N80million less than the amount filed for. This is verifiable. Regardless, we are grateful to Consolidated Hallmark for coming through for us on this particular project.”
Oluwole noted that the company contacted its business partners to update them on the disaster, and the steps taken in order to ensure the stabilisation of the project.
According to him, “We had meetings with our partners and investors to inform them on what we are going through and to assuage their fears. We also mentioned the actions taken, including the upgraded designs which were refabricated in China and on the way to Nigeria.
“We are optimistic that within the next six months, the snail farm would be fully back. Regardless, we would have sorted our partners and restabilise their revenue calendar. We know that we would lose one year on the 5,000sqm that was damaged. So, we built 10,000sqm in replacement so that we can recover from the losses within a maximum of 24 months.
“So we envisage that if we lose a year on 5000sqm, we have built 10,000sqm in replacement. We would be able to minimize the loss of the first year. While we are committed enough not to transfer this loss to the clients, we reached out to our partners to appeal for time. However, there are news on the internet saying this company has gone down and the likes, we understood the feelings, especially with recent happenings. his is to assuage fears. FarmKonnect is here to stay, and we mellowed because we cannot continue to attract partnership in uncertainty.
“Now that we are over 94 per cent out of the trial, and have put measures in place to forestall recurrence of some of the incidences, we are ready to go full blast in business again. Our operations have commenced again across the greenhouses and poultry and preparation for the open field is also on-going.
“FarmKonnect is a brand that is trustworthy and its a brand that is built on integrity and will never trade its integrity for anything. The company is doing all in its ability to make sure that we clear up all the backlog of payments due.”