By Chris Njoku
243 farmers in Cross River have received the Federal Government’s agricultural inputs and feeds in the ongoing National Poverty Reduction Programme with Growth Strategy (NPRGS).
The farmers who were from different value chains in the state were first verified and validated to ensure that those receiving the items were the real farmers who needed the items donated.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the initiative was a partnership among the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (FMAFS), Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
Others include the Agriculture Development Programme (ADP) and the government of Cross River.
Declaring the event open on Thursday in Calabar, Cross River’s Commissioner for Agriculture Mr Johnson Ebokpo said the event showed the love the government had for the smallholder farmers in the state.
Ebokpo said although the inputs would be distributed to the farmers free of charge, it was the responsibility of the farmers to make judicious use of the inputs.
According to him, “We have done a data capture of all the farmers and it would not end with the ongoing distribution, the state government would continue to use this data to reach out to the farmers.
“We understand the plight of the farmers in the state, while we urge them to be patient, we assure them that in the next two months, the state’s policy on maize cassava, rice and fish would be seen,” he said.
On his part, Mr Temitope Fadeshemi, Permanent Secretary in the FMAFS said the initiative was a training and empowerment programme of the NPRGS.
Represented by Mrs Offiong Ina-Ibor, Cross River State Coordinator of FMAFS
Fadeshemi said the Federal Government was making a conscious effort to reduce the state of poverty across the nation.
He maintained that the NPRGS marks a significant milestone in the collective commitment to uplifting the lives of smallholder farmers and fostering sustainable agricultural practices.
“To the participating farmers, I say this: your role is paramount in shaping the trajectory of our nation’s agricultural success.
“As you undergo this training and empowerment journey, absorb the knowledge, hone your skills, and apply the insights gained to elevate your farms and communities,” he said.
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Similarly, Mr Etim Bassey, Programme Manager of the Agriculture Development Programme in Cross River said the idea of the programme was to fight poverty in the nation.
He urged the farmers who would be receiving the items not to sell them but to use them judiciously to ensure the growth of the agricultural sector in the state and nation at large.
NAN reports that the crop farmers received 175 sprayers; 175 organic fertilizer, one Litre bottle; 350 bottles of glyphosate; 65 bags of maize seed; 71 bags of rice seed; 13 cans of tomato seeds; 13 sachets of pepper seed and13 tins of okra seed.
While the poultry farmer would receive 25-day-old chicks each and 40 bags of feed; the fish farmers would receive 28 bags of fish feed. (NAN)