By Emma Una, CALABAR
SENATOR Ben Ayade, the Cross River State governor has implored all youths in the state to own farms to boost their income and also address unemployment which is behind most youth restiveness.
Senator Ayade who stated this on Tuesday in Calabar while addressing youths in a one-day summit on, Promoting Agricultural Value Chain to boost Economic Development, Food Sufficiency and Youth Restiveness, said farming in the present era is an investment and not just for food production to meet the food needs of the family.
“Whether you are a civil servant, public servant, politician or whatever career, you can engage in farming and nobody will try to stop you and you can own as many farms as you can at any point in time”.
Ayade who was represented by his deputy, Professor Ivara Esu said there are many programmes in the state geared towards providing funds to ease farming activities in the state.
” We have the Accelerated Agricultural Fund, AAF, where the sum of 1.5 billion naira has been approved for farmers, the FADAMA and Anchor Borrowers schemes are there to provide facilities at just one digit interest, so every youth should tap into those schemes to make life easy”.
He said the state has established factories in the three Senatorial districts for rice milling, cocoa processing and poultry products processing and these factories need to be fed with inputs for processing and the best people to provide such are the youths.
He stated that youth restiveness is occasioned by the frustration of joblessness and attendant poverty it causes and if every youth undertakes to farm the burden of unemployment would be eliminated”.
Miss Precious Besong, the Special Assistant on Agricultural Extension Services who organised the programme said the state is blessed with an abundant landmass that is fertile and anyone can use it to cultivate any crop and make an abundant harvest.
“I encourage everyone to go into agriculture with an investment mindset to make a profit and not as a way of life as our fathers and grandfathers did in the past”
She said every youth in the state can conveniently be accommodated in agriculture and assured that with the passion the governor has for the youths none of them will regret going into farming.
Ms Besong called on agricultural investors to invest in the state and as such investments would bring abundant returns.