In a bid to ensure food security and citizens involvement in the Agro-industrialization policy of the State Government, Governor Ben Ayade, yesterday, at the Ayade Industrial Park, Calabar, officially flagged off the 2021 farming season.
Addressing the farmers, Governor Ben Ayade, who was ably represented by his deputy, Professor Ivara Esu calls on them to take advantage of the provisions by the Federal Government to improve their farming carrier.
“Many opportunities abound in the state created by the Government for Agro-development through the agro-based industries spread all across the State.
“We have favorable ecological zone within the state and that can grow many crops without the application of fertilizers”.
Advising the youths of the State, Prof Esu admonished young Cross Riverians and graduates to get involved in the production of food crops to increase value chains to attract Government assistance in that direction.
The Deputy Governor asserted that currently the State is leading in the production of Cassava, Palm, Cocoa, Rice as well as Rubber and called on farmers to brace up to the challenge of feeding the Nation through the industrial revolution of Governor Ayade.
In his keynote address, the Honourable Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Ntufam Okon Owuna maintained that the State Government has adopted a policy of Agro-industrialization amplified by all agro-industries that has been built in the 18 Local Government Areas of the State to take care of all value chains in Rice, Cocoa, Cassava, Groundnut, Maize among others.
He affirmed that the industries built by government are positioned to offtake their produce, pointing out that there is already market for their produce, the cocoa industries at Ikom, Rice mill at Ogoja, groundnut factory at Bekwerra, Calachika for poultry in Calabar.
There were goodwill messages from Chairman Farmers and Heads of Value-Chains including the Chairman of Oil Palm farmers, Chief Owali Ilem, Chairman, Rice Farmers, Dr. Oliver Ntui, Chairman of All Farmers, Pst. Ilem Nathaniel, Roy Ndoma Egba, Venerable Oqua and the Central Bank representative, Umoren Aniefiok.
In their goodwill messages, they lauded the state government resolve to support farmers at all times and pledge to support Governor Ayade agro-industrialization agenda for the state.
Highpoint of the event was the test-running of farming machines and presentation of planting materials by the Deputy Governor, Prof. Ivara Esu, Commissioner for Agriculture, Ntufam Okon Owuna, Secretary to the State Government, Barr. Mrs Tina Agbor to value- chain heads to kick start the farming season.