From EMMA OBI, Calabar
In her efforts to diversify the nation’s economy, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Calabar Smart office has commenced activities to boost yam production in Cross River State.
To achieve this objective, NEPC, in collaboration with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) have commenced the training of farmers on Yam Seed Multiplication Technology in Cross River State.
At the just concluded training programme in Yakurr Local Government Area in the Central Senatorial District of Cross River State, 850 farmers were trained on the Seed Multiplication Technology.
In a key note address, Dr. Emmanuel Etim, the Trade Promotion Advisor, NEPC, Calabar Smart Office, said “the motivation for launching the pilot phase of this programme is in recognition of enormous agricultural potentials in Cross River which can be aggressively harnessed to boost the national economy through increased non-oil export.
“Over the years, Cross River has been widely been credited with a rich Agricultural economic heritage but often times, produce from the farming activities that lack modern technological trends, lack of quality standards requirements for exports due to absence of modern Agricultural practices, poor post-harvest handling techniques and non-compliance to global food safety management systems, their consumption is localized and not fit for export”. Etim said.
Similarly, Mr. Azeez Oyeyemi, the Seed Production Officer, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) said the institute which has existed in Nigeria for over 50 years ago, has the mandate to do research on yam, cassava, plantain, banana, cocoa and several other agricultural products.
Oyeyemi said that the value and quantity of yam production in Nigeria is much and can therefore, not be compromised.
The training programme which was both theory and practical on seed yam technology attracted a large turnout of farmers from Mkpani community in Yakurr Local Government Area.
State chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Pastor Etim Nelson urged participants and indeed, all farmers in Cross River to liaise with the State Ministry of Agriculture and access credit facilities and other imputes so as to boost their productivity.
The commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Hon Peter Egbe, represented by the Deputy Director Administration, Joshua Abebbah said “developing Cross River State yam for export is a necessity” and thanked NEPC for organizing the workshop.
The project Monitoring and Reporting Officer, Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk sharing system for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Mr. Progress Uduzeli advised participants to take advantage of the training for improved productivity.
Before declaring the seminar open, the state commissioner for Agriculture, Prof Anthony Eneji who was represented at the occasion by his Permanent Secretary, Rev. Joseph Ugbe urged the farmers to take advantage of the training so as to better their lots.
Farmer expressed appreciation to the organizers of the event and assured that they will put into practice what they have learnt.