Mr Emmanuel Ano, Special Adviser on Agriculture to Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River, has said that more farmers were empowered by the current administration than any previous ones in the state.
Ano, who stated this in an interview with newsmen on Saturday in Calabar, said the empowerment had lifted thousands of farm families from poverty.
He said that this was made possible through various policy initiatives of the government that had seen the enhancement in the value chain of agriculture in Cross River.
He said since 1999, no government in the state gave more attention to the sector than the current administration.
He stressed that as part of the agricultural revolution, several agro-industries were set up by the government while thousands of farmers were trained in various fields of agriculture.
The governor’s aide further said that aside the training, the government provided various forms of loans to farmers to boost their farming.
“There is no state in Nigeria that has given more support to farmers as much as Cross River State has done.
“The problem we have had in the past and of course, one of the challenges of agricultural development is the challenge of market, access to market.
“Many people in the rural areas have grown crops that ended up as waste because of absence of market for their produce and this has discouraged several of them from farming.
“Our focus from the ascendancy of this administration is providing access to market for farmers through agro industrialisation policy of the government.
“For instance, there is Karachika, a poultry processing industry that has the capacity of taking so much poultry from the farmers.
“Before now, they have had the challenge of non availability of market for their produce.
“The government has also invested so much on capacity building for farmers. Just recently, 5,800 farmers were trained in an institute in Abuja. You will agree with me that this is not a common thing in the country.
“The Cross River State has invested in the capacity building of farmers, we have been able to provide an enabling environment for farming, providing direct support in terms of material support and market environment.”
Ano expressed regret that several farmers that were given loans to boost their farming activities, failed to pay back the loan that was supposed to be revolving ones to others.
He, however, said, “We are having engagement with the farmers at different levels to recover these loans. While some are responding, many others have failed to,” he stated.