By Ene Asuquo
A Frontline farmer in Cross River and the Clan Head of Kasuk 2 in Calabar municipality, Ntoe (Dr) Ededem Okon Ayito has called on the State Government to encourage youths and women participation in agriculture
Ntoe Ayito in an interview with our reporter shortly after receiving the award of “Food Ambassador” from the state government in Calabar recently, urged the government to encourage youths participation in agriculture as this will help to take away restiveness amongst the youths and also reduce crime rates in the society.
The monarch who is into large scale farming said that some government policies and programs in the agriculture sector in the state are so cumbersome such that some of these youths especially those in the rural areas lost interest in farming
He said though government have good plans for farmers, but can not carry out the plans effectively because they don’t do verification to know who are the real farmers to benefit from some agricultural loans and grants that would have help boost outputs
He advised the government to always rich out to the local farmers through the local governments, no their challenges and deal with them directly if the state must be self sufficient in food production
Ntoe Ayito also stressed that when he started farming over 20years ago, there used to be extension officers from the ministry of agriculture and even at the local government, whose duties were to go round and check farmers especially those ones at the rural areas to know their challenges, “but now, those things are no longer there he maintained “.
The monarch further maintained that the government should be organizing training for farmers periodically so as to get them acquainted with new farming techniques, adding that, “there are lots of new farming methods and most of our farmers are left behind because they don’t undergo training
His words; ” we have new farming techniques, from fertilizing, planting and harvesting which requires training, there are new species and different varieties of seedlings that requires training”he concluded