Linda Ayade Flags Off Women Farmers' Empowerment Programme in Yala

By Solomon Ugo and Daniel Odobi,Yala

The unique importance of rural women as veritable backbone for family and community in the area of food security was brought to the fore on Friday during the official flag off of Women Farmers' Empowerment Programme by the First Lady of Cross River State,Dr Linda Ayade (KSJI).

Flagging off the programme  held in Wanokom, Yala Local Government Area  in collaboration with Cross River Women Emancipation Initiative( CROWEI).

The wife of the Governor, represented by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Women Affairs and  Secretary General of CROWEI, Dr Getrude Njar, averred that the state government would continue to facilitate women participation in  leadership at all levels for sustainable development.

"As we gather here today to flag off the empowerment in agriculture, I want to emphatically say that we are taking a giant step in the right direction towards increase in food supply for our state and nation. Unarguably, Cross River has what it takes to be the food basket of the nation.

"We recognize the proven knowledge and skills of rural women in relation to managing natural resources and adapting to climate change.Food security depends on this expertise and knowledge. The whole sustainability project is on the hands of rural women"

Mrs Njar emphasized that redoubling efforts aimed at empowering poor rural women is key in enhancing the political will against hunger. She posited that, "a society of gender equality and zero hunger in our lifetime is possible"

The programme which is a pet project of the Vice Chairman of Yala Local Government Area was initiated to curb challenges in accessing farm inputs, micro -credit, capacity building in order to boost farming activities and enhance productivity in agricultural sector across the Local Government.

While appreciating the Governor and his dear wife for their sustained support for women in the state, the Vice Chairman of Yala Local Government Area, Hon Mrs Felicia Ijoko Undelikwo (JP) in an address at the occasion noted that the initiative  would further contribute to food security policy of the nation.

"This programme is a platform aimed at grouping women into small holder farmers' associations to enable them access farm inputs,agric grants and other incentives to boost farming which is the main source of livelihood for most rural dwellers in the Local Government"

In his remark, Dr Ngwu John Igelle, Supervisor for Agriculture and Natural Resources,Yala Local Government  stated that the administration of Hon Barr Fabian Ogbeche has seen that agriculture remains the main stay of Yala economy as a result of large and massive land that can be used for agricultural productivity.

 Harping on the need to organize farmers into small holder groups so as to attract loans from government and donor agencies, Dr. Ngwu, maintained that, "it has become very needful to design an agric policy to diversify our farming system in order to move towards commercial farming".

On his part, representative of Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) Microfinance Bank, Samuel Adebayo urged farmers to organise themselves into small holder groups. He  asserted that the bank removes challenges from agriculture so as to make funds available to farmers. Adding that their duty is to "facilitate finance for genuine farmers through different agro loans".

 Dignitaries who graced the flagging off ceremony included  the vice chairman of Boki LGA, Hon Mary Jaka Besong, Hon Franka Ayuk, Etung LGA,Hon Peace Agbor Obeten, Obubra and her Ikom counterpart,Hon Alice Erem Abung.

 Others include Cordinator of Anti Deforestation Taskforce,Amb. Emmanuel Asegem, leader of Yala Legislative Council,Hon Patrick Egana, Councilors, Supervisor for Health,Mrs Alice Ikade,Hon Francis Ulakom,Hon Joe Ijoko, traditional rulers and All Progressives Congress faithfuls.

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