Agric Commissioner Charges Farmers To Brace Up For Challenges

The Akwa Ibom commissioner for agriculture and women affairs has urged farmers in the state to brace up for  the challenges of farming and prove to the world that they are real farmers.  Dr Glory Edet stated this while addressing farmers under the aegis of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AfAN), Akwa Ibom State branch, when they marked this year's World Food Day on the theme: Our Actions and Our Future, Healthy Diets for a Zero Hunger World at  the Idongesit Nkanga Secretariat, Uyo.  Edet called on women and everyone to at least, own a farm which she said would guarantee food sufficiency "If you claim to be a farmer, you must present your farm produce to show that you are not lazy and it will also show that you are enthusiastic about food sufficiency, she remarked.  Disclosing that  there were abundant and beautiful expanse of land available to farmers to cultivate, she said no one would be excused for being lazy, while encouraging  farmers especially women to venture into what would  generate income that would pay their children's school fees, settle bills as well as help their husbands and the entire family.  Edet said the theme was plausible due to the fact that in recent times, there is dramatic change if eating habits because of globalisation, urbanisation and income growth.  Her words: "It's worrisome to see people spend less time in  preparing meals at home and shifts from seasonal, mainly plant based and fibre rich dishes to high calorie diets loaded with starches, sugar ,fat ,salt and excessive consumption of meat.  She warned that sedentary lifestyle has greatly contributed to the health challenges of the people such as obesity and malnutrition and called on all and sundry to cultivate a healthy lifestyle by eating more of fruits and vegetables and reduce the consumption of junk foods.  In order to achieve the United Nations' mandate on sustainable development goals, all the stakeholders must join hands to make the necessary shift in our diet because government cannot it all alone, she said.  The commissioner advised farmers to cultivate more seasonal and indigenous crops in order to meet  their nutritional needs, adding that it can only be achieved in an agrarian society like Akwa Ibom.  She said that her ministry was working together with AFAN to implement programmes and activities that will break the cycle of hunger and Gov  Udom Emmanuel administration has embarked on aggressive agricultural activities that could tackle and  achieve zero hunger which will ensure food security in the state.  She, however, applauded  the governor for making agricultural development a top priority in his administration, AFAN and other stakeholders for their collaboration with the ministry to ensure a successful 2019 World Food Day celebration in the state.  The state chairman of AFAN,  Prince Bassey Inwang, said any action taken today may either mar or promote the agricultural system in the world and therefore, urged farmers and stakeholders to take actions that would see agriculture as a frontline job, not a job for frustrated individuals.  The actions we take today by planting or breeding an improved and qualitative farm inputs will give us productivity in the future; great farmers, may we take actions that will promote the coexistence of farmers, traders, workers, state and Nigeria, the AFAN boss said.  He advised farmers to carry out their farming activities with care and hope in mind that thier actions today will greatly affect their future.  The local government head of AFAN, Ini chapter, Mr Uwem Mboribo, in a chat with newsmen said, "The challenges we face these days in the farm are insufficient farm tools and so I call on government to help by providing farming implements in order to aid large scale farming that will enhance exportation of farm produce.   The government should also construct good road network, because if we have good road it will be easy for us to transport our goods and they will not perish before it gets to the consumer, he added.  The state secretary of AFAN,  Mr Paulinus Ankwai, while interacting with journalists explained that all the wares on display were peculiar to the people and the kind of things they do.  He emphasised the use of fertilizer to farm in order to increase yeild and bumper harvest . He lamented that the land tenure system in some parts of the state does not give room for all time  season farming, adding that,  in order to boost yield, fertilizer was needed.  Government should make fertilizer available to farmers at subsidised rate, provide pesticides, tractors and loans to assist farmers to make farming a business, Ankwai appealed.  AFAN members who form cooperative societies exhibited their farm wares such as tortoise, goats, local cows, skin care products, fruits and vegetables, among others, and the commissioner inspected and purchased some of those farm produce.  The celebration featured march-past by AFAN members from the 31 local government areas of the state,song rendition by AFAN members, presentation of goodwill messages and award presentation to farmers whose farm produce met the taste of the panel of judges.  In the exhibition contest, Ini Local Government came with 65 per cent; Ikono, Second with 60 per cent and Etinan, third with 56 per cent.  Important personalities from the State Ministry of Agriculture and other sectors turned out for the event.

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