As food prices continue to soar high across various markets in the country, the Federal Government, yesterday, moved to build the capacity of Irish-potato farmers in Cross River State.
This was made known by the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, FDA, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, FMARD, Karima Babangida, who was represented by the State Director, FMARD, Calabar, Cross-River State, Iwara Edet, following the commencement a 5-day training on Farmers Business School, FBS, for Irish-potato farmers from May 3-7, 2021, in Obudu Local Government Area of the State.
Explaining the essence of the training Babangida said it is in the pursuit of food security and nutrition for the country, and expressed hope that if the capacity building is achieved the narratives about farming as a culture will change to farming as a business.
She said: “It is in the regards that Federal Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with German International Corporation (GIZ) has been a strong advocate for this paradigm shift in our agriculture.
“Further to the foregoing, it’s a known fact that Irish potato is a premium cash crop sort after by many here in the country and other West African countries.
“The purpose of this 5-day workshop is to bring together Irish potato farmers in a class of 30 each to build their capacity on simple farming business models and concept in order to increase their technical know-how on farming practices so they can earn more income from doing the same job.
“It is important to know that FBS is capable of starting a potato revolution here in Cross-River especially in Obudu and other communities in the Northern states that have the potentials to grow potatoes during the dry season.
“In view of the above, it is important for all participants to make good use of this training to learn and adopt the new farming business innovations that would be handed over to them over the course of the 5-day workshop which covers 12 modules with different topics and practical through participatory approach.”
She also made it known that “Potato farmers in Plateau State who were the first to benefit from FBS have profited immensely from the adoption of these new farming business innovations, I have no doubt the same will be the outcome here after the workshop is over.”
In expressing optimism she said, “I hope that by the end of this 5-day workshop the purpose for organising this FBS training would have been achieved and Potato farmers in Obudu would have been equipped with the requisite skills and knowledge on farming as a business for increased productivity and income. The sixty participants would also be able to spread the knowledge on FBS to other farmers within the communities.”
She also added that “It is expected that this 5- day workshop would avail all participants the opportunity to master the basic farming business models to grow their potato business.”