GOV’S WIFE DRUMS UP SUPPORT FOR WOMEN IN AGRICULTURE …AS SHE ENUMERATES AS FARMER
The wife of the governor of Akwa Ibom State, Dr. Martha Udom Emmanuel has called for more support for women in agriculture to enable them exploit varied economic opportunities in farming as business.
She made this call this week in her office when a team from the Directorate of Agricultural Investments, AKICORP, Uyo, visited to enumerate her as farmer in the ongoing statewide farmers data-gathering.
Women, according to the governor’s wife, were prepared to take advantage of the rich agricultural endowments of the state and grow sufficient crops alongside livestock rearing in commercial quantity. However, she passionately called on government, banks and other donor institutions to come to the aids of women in farming in the state in order to realize the goal of food security and sufficiency for all.
She stated that as an experienced farmer, she was acquainted with the difficulties associated with farming by the womenfolk. With the database, government, according to her, “should be able to do something to help our women because farming is very expensive to go commercial but when they get help in terms of soft loans or grants, they will be able to go commercial. So, from this data you are collecting, I am sure the next line of action will be giving out of soft loans; the women are ever ready.”
She expressed hope that the farmers’ data-capturing exercise will be of immense benefit to farmers, particularly women. Hence, she called on women across the state to get registered, emphasizing that only registered farmers will access government support in forms of soft loans and farm inputs. Why farmers have not received regular support from government and donor agencies, she said, was due to lack of data and commended the State government for the initiative of the enumeration exercise.
Her words: “I join my voice with His Excellency to say that we can grow what we eat in this part of the world, Akwa Ibom state soil is very fertile and this lockdown is an eye-opener, it has its own advantages, we now realize that if anything happens in the future for all the states to close their borders, then if we do not cultivate what we can eat, then there will be problem. So, with this lock down we now realize that there is need for everyone to go back to farming, not only cassava cultivation, our women can also cultivate yam in our soil. Our women do not need to import yams from other parts of the country because our soil is fertile enough for commercial yam cultivation.”
Accurate farmer database, she stressed, was “going to go a long way to helping us as farmers get grants and loans from Central Bank of Nigeria and any other donor agency,” and noted that the enumeration will lead to ease of categorization of farmers into areas of interest. “So, with this data, government will be able to identify various crop types, various types of farmers and what they cultivate. And whenever they apply for any grant or loan, government will be specific on the number of farmers and what they do.”
The first lady who is also on the forefront of fight against domestic violence, rape and child trafficking through her pet project, Family Empowerment and Youth Re-Orientation Path Initiative (FEYReP), currently cultivates cassava on seventy hectares of farm land, equally encouraged youths to get involved in farming. Going down memory lane, she said. “I am a farmer. My father and mother, my entire family members are all farmers. My parents never bought any crop from the market, except meat. From palm oil to every crop you can think of, we grew everything. As I am now, I know how to cultivate many crops. I know how to farm cassava and process into garri, I know how to weed the farms because my parents taught me all that. This is why I am interested in farming.”
Extolling the diligence of the enumerators led by the executive director, Directorate of Agricultural Investments, AKICORP, Pastor Umo Eno for identifying and enumerating, she urged all women to participate in the exercise.