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Farmers Advised To Join Cooperatives For Increased Food Production

Farmers in the country have been encouraged to constitute themselves into cooperative societies and embark on commercial farming. The chief executive officer of Leadway Initiative for Rural Development, Mr Enefiok Ekereke, who bared his mind on the way forward to the realization of food sufficiency in the country during the just concluded 2nd South-South Agric Expo and Summit recently in Uyo, explained that formation of farmer cooperative society would enable farmers to pool their resources together for the acquisition of large hectares of land for commercial cultivation of crops in the rural communities. He explained that mass cultivation of crops for commercial purposes would be encouraged when large hectares of land are acquired by 10 or more people under cooperative societies. Ekereke, whose outfit has 50 hectares of cassava farm in Afaha Nsai community in Ibiono Local Government Area, emphasized that formation of more farmer cooperative societies would not just enable them to embark on commercial farming but create opportunities for the engagement of unemployed youths of the state in agricultural development for food sufficiency to be achieved. He said with such ventures it would be possible for food crops to be produced in large quantity for consumption with left over for export against subsistence farming that only allows for the production of small quantity of food crops for domestic consumption. His words: "When you are into commercial farming it will be possible for you to empower youths in agricultural development. Large scale farming will serve as a big support to the growth of the economy and will contribute to industrial growth. Ekereke attributed insufficient food in Nigeria to the problem of land acquisition and underfunding of agriculture, noting that if access to land was not a major impediment to the growth and development of agriculture, food sufficiency would have since been realized in the country. He called for proper funding of agriculture by the three tiers of government to serve as an encouragement for more people to embrace farming as a lucrative business for profit making and for food security. Commenting on the 2nd Agric Expo and Summit, Ekereke said lessons from the Expo and Summit would help farmers to develop from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture and contribute significantly to rapid industrial growth. He explained that the agric expo and summit would enable farmers in the south-south region to fully develop and contribute to industrialization, noting that products of big companies as Cadbury and Nestle were produced from agricultural produce.

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