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C'River to focus on agric after loss of oil wells

Published by Guardian on Mon, 30 Jul 2012


DUE to its precarious financial position, which has been worsened by the loss of its status as an oil-producing state, Cross River State is considering focusing on agriculture.While receiving officials of the International Food and Agricultural Development (IFAD) in his office at the weekend, the state Deputy Governor, Mr. Efiok Cobham, said agriculture was a veritable source of development for the state and the country at large.He noted that the state would use agriculture to effectively tackle poverty and generate employment among the youth in the rural communities of the state.He observed that there had been neglect of the funding of agricultural programmes and sought a paradigm shift for the Federal Ministry of Finance to favour more funding to attract the study of agriculture in the country's tertiary institutions.Cobham expressed appreciation to the IFAD, as the visit would enable the state to assess its impact on rural development as over 70 per cent of the population is in the rural areas.He commended IFAD for extending its programmes in the state for two years and reducing the counterpart funding by the state to 25 per cent, as well as requested an increase in the funding of agricultural programmes.The deputy governor assured IFAD of the state government's continued support for its programmes in the state.Earlier, Head of the IFAD Mission to the state, Aisoku Toda, who described Cross River as the best performing state as far as IFAD programmes were concerned, said what they saw in Ogoja and Obubra in the area of agricultural transformation agenda attested to her position.She commended the state government for its strides injob creation, adding that the IFAD programmes in the state would be extended for two years, as well as reduce the counterpart funding of the state from 45 to 25 per cent.In his address, a representative of the Niger Delta Development Corporation (NDDC), Mr. Christopher Okonjo, said his organisation had contributed about N1.5 billion to the IFAD programmes and commended the state for meeting all its obligations towards its programmes.A representative of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Godspower Amadi, expressed satisfaction in the performance of the state as regards IFAD programmes.
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