Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
Cassava farmers in Taraba State, on Tuesday, got over five million improved cassava stems which the state government purchased from the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and distributed to the farmers for free.
The state’s deputy governor, Haruna Manu, who flagged off the distribution, in Jalingo, said that the distribution was part of the government’s strategy to deliberately boost the agricultural sector a major income spinner both for the individual farmers and the state government.
Manu said that the current economic situation in the country and the looming food crisis has made it imperative for the government to take rather drastic measures to ensure both economic stability and food security in the state.
Manu said that the state government has already set up three cassava processing plants across the state and was working hard to revive the moribund Jalingo plant to curtail wastage and provide a ready market for the farmers.
“The Taraba State Government deems it necessary to give desired attention to agriculture because it is a major source of income for majority of our people.
“As the country is geared towards alternative income sources, the state is committed to reviving agricultural sector with a view to improving the socioeconomic development of the state.
“It is equally important to note that there is a general apprehension for food crisis in the country arising from the activities of herdsmen that have displaced many farmers.
“It is therefore natural that we take advantage of the abundant potentials in the state to ensure that we give our farmers all the encouragement they need to fill the gab between starvation and abundance in our favour.
“Let me inform you that the performance of cassava farmers last year made the state government to come up with the initiative of establishing three cassava processing plants across the three senatorial districts of the state, while the existing plant in Jalingo is currently undergoing repairs.
“This is aimed at creating market for the finished products and to also provide an enabling environment for healthy competition among cassava producers in the state.
“We are all aware of the many agricultural potentials of the state and we must ensure that these potentials are properly harnessed to develop our dear state,” Manu said.
The state’s commissioner of Agriculture Dr. David Ishaya in his welcome speech noted that this year’s distribution was a build up from last year and to further complement the result of last year that has placed the state as the leading cassava producing state in the region and among the leaders in the country.
Ishaya called on the farmers to “maintain the tempo so that other inputs and incentives would still come their way.”