• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

HO Corn, like Thrive Agric, postpones repayment of investors’ funds twice

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While the dust is yet to settle between Thrive Agric and its investors, HO Corn, another agro-investment platform based in Lagos has issued a letter to people who subscribed to its farms requesting an extension for the payment of capital and accrued dividend.

In a letter seen by BusinessDay, the agric crowdfunding platform said the repayment which was due on the 10 of October 2020 would no longer be possible due to “unexpected twist in events, largely occasioned by the novel coronavirus pandemic.” It set the new payment date for 30 October 2020.

HO Corn had in February 2020 embarked on nationwide publicity in which it disclosed plans to cultivate maize on about 30,000 hectares which will yield an additional 120,000 metric tons to national output to help meet household and industrial demand for the crop in 2020.

Harrison Andrew, CEO of HO Corn had claimed that the 30,000 hectares production capacity could accommodate 30,000 investors with a minimum investment of N100,000 per lot and assurance of 50 percent return on investment.

A source who had made efforts to invest during the time told BusinessDay that Nigerians’ response to HO Corn’s call for investment was overwhelming. Within two weeks of opening the company’s website was struggling to keep up with the traffic. Most of the time the website was down, which prompted the source to go to the company’s office located on the 3rd Floor, Africa Re-Insurance Building, Plot 1679 Karimu Kotun, Victoria Island, Lagos.

“On the last day the subscription was supposed to end, the crowd that trooped to Ho Corn was mammoth. It was as if people were begging the company to take their money and it was refusing,” the source said.

HO Corn promised investors they would earn their return on investment in six months. That was in July. A few days to the due date in July, the company sent a mail to its investors requesting for three more months, precisely 10 October 2020.

In its October mail to investors, HO Corn said the original plan was to harvest and commence massive sales from the month of April to July, but the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted its harvest and payment calendar. It currently has vast non-harvested farmlands.

“Note that in the month of June when we should be consolidating our nationwide sales and mobilising resources for payment, we were still carrying out planting activities. No thanks to the disruptions of both pre-planting and post-planting operations caused by the nearly-two-months complete shutdown of the farm in the wake of the global pandemic. The aftermath of that closure dealt a terrible blow to us. We are yet to fully recover from its attendant consequence,” the company said in the mail.

The claims are similar to what Abuja-based Thrive Agric told its investors. The company which has been owing investors since March is currently trying to find a solution that would stop the aggrieved investors from taking legal action.

A HO Corn investor who pleaded anonymity told BusinessDay he invested N700,000 and is concerned that there may be more delays in view of the situation at Thrive Agric.

It was a six months agreement with an ROI of 50 percent, payment was due for July initially and then they sent a mail about COVID-19 and asked for an extension till Oct 10. Since then there was no frequent communication until now they sent another mail saying COVID-19 affected sales. Investors have to wait again until 30 October. It’s annoying because all we have been seeing since the past three months were videos and pictures of corn being harvested and taken in big lorries indicating good sales and harvest,” the investor said.