The Governor of Cross River State, Senator Bassey Otu has disclosed workable strategies to boost the state’s economy and improve food security through Agriculture.
The Governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Crops and Irrigation Development, Hon. Johnson Ebokpo, made the disclosure while presenting a keynote address at the National Agriculture Growth Scheme (NAGS) –Cassava Component Stakeholders Workshop, on Friday, in Calabar.
“A digital statewide soil and fertility map exercise has been commissioned and is currently ongoing for all crops and that one hundred thousand hectares of land has been Allocated for cassava production and other Agricultural programs”, he said.
The workshop which was themed “Cassava: Maximizing the Full Potentials of Nigeria’s Golden Crop” was organised to boost cassava productivity among smallholder farmers and link them with industry for a sustainable value chain system.
Declaring the workshop open, the commissioner on behalf of the governor commended the organisers while stating that the workshop was timely and a response to the call by the Nigerian President, His Excellency, Bola Ahmed Tinubu who declared a state of emergency on food security.
Speaking on the great financial dividends that may arise in the nearest future in Agriculture, he encouraged Cassava farmers on the need for mass production of cassava, stressing the benefits it would exert on the nation Gross Domestic Product , with reference to countries like China, Japan and United States who have generated income with Cassava production and its value chain.
Speaking further, he noted that statistics showed that in 2019, China exported more than 4 million tons of cassava and its related products. The United States and Japan exported about 1.5 million tons and Japan 1 million tons respectively.
He added that Nigeria as the business nerve centre of Africa with myriads of business ideas can’t undermine the overwhelming benefits accrue with massive production of Cassava.
Specifically, the commissioner, on behalf of his ministry , assured that he would make use of this comparative advantage and partner with stakeholders from different sectors who are ready and willing to invest in agro businesses to ensure the development of a sustainable cassava production strategy for the State.
The workshop also welcomed goodwill messages from the Economic Adviser to Akwa Ibom State Governor, Dr. Mrs. UduakObong Inam, represented by the acting Executive Director, Directorate of Agricultural Investments, Mr. Ofonmbuk Nelson; founder of Songhai Center, Bene republic, Prof. Rev. Fr. Godfrey Nzamudo, State Chairman Cassava farmers, Venerable Augustine Oqua and the State Coordinator, Association of Women in Trade and Agriculture (AWITA), Dr. Mrs. Ekei Okon as well as the Branch Manager of Fidelity Bank PLC, Mrs. Nnenna Egwu- Inya.
The Workshop was also attended by Biotechnologist , Crops and Cassava Stakeholders across Nigeria and beyond.