Akwa Ibom State government says it has disbursed over N1.2billion as interest free loans to 2,000 cassava farmers in the last two years.
State Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Glory Edet, who made this known yesterday while exchanging views with our correspondents in Uyo said the loan was a deliberate move to reduce the astronomical price of Garri, a staple food in the state and boost the capacity of cassava farmers to produce more.
Edet pointed out that the initiative was not limited to cassava production alone but also includes maize and vegetable farmers.
She explained the ministry recently distributed 700,000 cocoa seedlings to farmers and boosted livestock farmers with improved breeds of native goats and other animals.
The ministry, according to Edet has sustained the sale of more than 150 bags of garri per day at a reduced price in different parts of the state to ameliorate the hardship on residents and force the price of the commodity in the open market.
Another government initiative to boost food production according to the commissioner, is introduction of Green House, a modern method of farming with emphasis on the training and empowerment of individual holder farmers, especially youths and women with funds, equipment, agro chemicals, fertilizer and improved varieties of seeds and stems.
The ministry, she said has also expanded its swampy rice production capacity to include individual holder farms in Okobo, Uruan, Ibiono Ibom and Nsit Ubium LGAs in addition to existing plantations at Ini Local Council.