By Chinyere Anyanwu


The Cross River State Governor, Bassey Otu, has disclosed that his government will open up many rural roads to enable rural farmers evacuate their farm yields to urban centres and general markets.

Otu also stated that his administration is committed to return the popular Okuku Market in Yala Local Government Area of the state to a thriving local commodity hub of international standard where farm produce from villages can be sold cheaply.

The governor gave the assurance when he received a delegation led by the Paramount Ruler of Yala LGA, Ogamode Clement Ipuole, in his office in Calabar.

Governor Otu said, “We have noted that inaccessibility to larger markets occasioned by bad or non-available roads have impacted against agriculture or smallholder farmers in the state. We will open up roads for ease of transportation of goods from the interior communities to the urban areas and markets.”

He said his administration intends to explore the area’s huge agricultural potential as well as reposition it to its once reputed place as the food basket of the state in particular and Nigeria in general.

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Otu called on traditional and opinion leaders of Yala LGA to emphasise on agriculture, saying it will foster healthier communal ties, peaceful coexistence and good neighbourliness.

“We want the cooperation of our traditional authorities to nip the avoidable records of communal clashes and other disputes which affect agriculture in the bud,” the governor said.

He said that the state is carrying out proper reforms to make sure that agriculture is well positioned as the mainstay of the state’s economy. He maintained that security and other structures that would entrench sanity in the area are being put in place.

The governor expressed optimism that in the near future when the envisioned Okuku commodity market becomes a reality, the state government would make areas like Okpoma and Okuku urban towns as the agricultural potential of the area have all the trappings to make Yala an urban and commercial nerve centre in the northern part of the state.

Responding, Ipuole said access roads linking the various communities to enable them transport their farm produce, lack of potable water, upgrade of the Okuku local food commodity market to international standard, are some of their challenges.

He appealed for the creation of an irrigation dam to boost food production; exploration of the huge salt deposits in the area and establishment of a salt industry.