Uyo - All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Akwa Ibom chapter, has appealed to the state government to pay urgent attention to irrigation to ensure sustained food production in the state.
The farmers said that irrigation would encourage farmers to plant crops all-year-round, irrespective of the season.
Speaking on their behalf, AFAN chairman in the state, Mr Dennis Etong, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Uyo that absence of irrigation was the bane of food sufficiency in the state.
According to Etong, farmers in Akwa Ibom have long moved from the traditional rainy season farming to cultivation during the dry season to ensure that there is food always but it has been difficult.
He said the difficulty could be eased if the government could introduce irrigation programme and make the environment conducive to all-season farming.
"With the climate change phenomenon, one can no longer predict or rely on the known seasons and weather, so we need to adopt the scientific way of farming and that includes irrigation.
"This measure, which only the government can sponsor, will ensure that water is available for farming all through the year; and by this, great yields will always be recorded by farmers.’’
He said that some crops, including vegetable and cassava, need much water and could be planted any time of the year if an irrigation programme is in place.
"Irrigation is the only way we can begin the effort towards food sufficiency in the state and boost food production in 2013 and beyond,’’ he said.
He said the association had concluded plans to produce a compendium of farmers in the state for easy identification, adding that as at December there were 7,500 certified farmers in the state.
Among them, he said, were 100 “chartered farmers” who had taken agriculture as full-time business.
He stressed the need for more people to embrace farming as “this will increase the quantity of food in our state and reduce unnecessary quest for political positions.’’