Cross River Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) on Wednesday in Calabar, began step down training programme for 30 extention agents on new approach to agriculture.
Recalls that the new approach, Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment and Promotion (SHEP), is designed to change the orientation of farmers to farming.
The Cross River’s Director for Agricultural Extension Services, Mr Nathaniel Nkor who flagged off the programme, said the approach tended to shift emphasis from consumption to marketing aspect of agriculture.
He said that the approach was aimed at generating income for farmers as well as employment creation.
“This approach will take us from where we were to a new level. It will add wealth to the income of farmers and also enhance production.
“In essence, the approach changes farmers’ mindset from farming for consumption to farming to make profit,” he said.
Nkor who said he would work to see to the success of the project, however, noted that farmers in the state must be ready to embrace the change.
Earlier in his address, the Programme Manager, Cross River ADP, Mr Bassey Etim, said the theme of the project, “Grow and Sell” to “Grow to Sell” was also aimed at improving farmers’ farming skills.
Etim stressed that the extention agents were carefully selected from the 18 Local Government Areas of the state.
He said that the training which would end on Friday was meant to sufficiently equipp the agents who would in turn pass the knowledge to the farmers.
“This programme must be taken seriously because it wasn’t an easy ride for us to be here.
“Cross Riverx is fortunate to be chosen among 12 competitive states that were further reduced to six states in the second phase of the this programme,” he said.
The ADP programme manager listed the six participating states to include: Cross River, Ogun, Kebbi, Gombe, Anambra and Benue.
Etim said the SHEP project was developed by Japan International Coorperation Agency (JICA) and supported by the Federal Government. (NAN)