Cross River to support farmers with 50,000 hectares for rubber, palm production
Cross River State Government has assured the National Rubber Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NARPPMAN) that it would approve 50,000 hectares of land for farmers to enable them to plant rubber and palm trees.
Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Okon Owuna, gave the assurance when the National President of NARPPMAN, Peter Igbinosun, and delegates of the Cross River State chapter of the group, visited the ministry.
Owuna advised the smallholder farmers in the state, especially those in the natural rubber sub-sector to form cooperatives to enable them access grants, other international agricultural funds and machineries, which the government had attracted to the state.
He said to maintain a top position in rubber cultivation and production, the state government would support farmers with land, being a major requirement of international donors and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“I encourage rubber farmers in the state to be proactive to draw the much-needed funds and grants from international organisations the state is partnering.
“We have the land required by donors as collateral, but you must form groups and cooperatives before you can access the grants. You have to request for land and we are ready to approve such requests,” he said.
Speaking earlier, Igbinosun said his visit to the state was to renew the relationship with the state government and encourage rubber farmers to consolidate Cross River’s position as the second biggest producer of rubber in the country.
He thanked the state government for assuring them of its support and intervention to boost cultivation of rubber among farmers.
Igbinosun, who expressed hope of better collaboration between the state government and the association, said his visit afforded him opportunity to meet critical stakeholders and large scale farmers.
He said a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for supply of high-yield stumps to members of the association would be signed, adding that the association had perfected arrangements to acquire 160,000 hectares of land for the 24 member-states that produce rubber to plant the high-yield cloned varieties.
The president urged the commissioner to invite the state government to participate in the upcoming Natural Rubber Week holding in Calabar this month and the National Rubber Conference scheduled for Abuja in October during which the Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo, would unveil announce Federal Government’s policy on rubber.
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