Agricultural evolution first occurred 10,000 years ago when plants were selected and grown as crops, and animals were domesticated. Further revolution of our food industry – from mechanisation in the early 18th century right through to genetic selection today – has been driven by technological innovation and the dissemination of knowledge.
As i congratulate His Excellency, Governor Ayade Benedict on his award as the best governor in Agriculture, i wish to bring to his knowledge that there is a heavy decline in value chain as farmers in Cross River State no longer have the benefit of their labour because the middlemen who buy from them are the ones having the field day.
Farmers in the state have a problem of convincing banks to support their ideas, even when they can attract funds to sort their farming needs but the reverse is the case.
They lack the technical skills and specialization to produce quality agricultural products . Besides, they do not have the market to receive their farm produce. The government is supposed to have created a platform that will connect small scale farmers with investors who are interested in agricultural mechanisation but this is grossly lacking.
As the “Best Governor in Agriculture”, farming inputs, seeds, and fertilizers should be provided for the farmers to go on a full season of farming with necessary income that would empower, engage and train the peasants on how to improve the qualities of their yields.
Another impediment to the growth of the agric sector in the state is lack of infrastructure, which has created a barrier between farmers and consumers. It has also reduced market opportunities and incentives for investing in farm productivity.
Experts say that the agricultural sector lacks critical infrastructure, such as roads, access to reliable sources of energy, clean water, and modern Information and Communications Technology (ICT) tools, particularly Internet. For instance, studies have shown that poor roads add as much as between 50 and 60 per cent to the cost of moving agric produce and other activities in the sector. This adversely affects private sector participation and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow in the sector.
We all know Agriculture is Nigeria’s lifeline and it holds the key to eliminating hunger and ensure food security. About 70 per cent of Nigerians are employed in the agricultural sector, making it the largest employer and perhaps, largest contributor to economic growth and development.
Let me formally congratulate your excellency Sir by reminding you to hasten up work on the abandoned Ogoja Rice Factory, the dysfunctional Cotton Farm at Woda in Yala, the moribund Cocoa Processing Factory at Ikom, the Calabar Rice Seedling Factory that was commissioned and closed immediately, Calachika, the abandoned roads construction and other projects with work going on at the speed of a millipede. Your name will be written in gold if all these gigantic projects are completed.