The Cross River State government has commenced the collation of data on agricultural cooperative societies in the state to facilitate their accessibility to loans and other incentives.
The state Director of Agricultural Services in the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mrs Martina Ubi, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar.
Ubi said that the exercise was to ensure easy accessibility to the cooperatives and granting of incentives when necessary as well as enhancing service delivery.
She said that the exercise was also aimed at facilitating partnership between farmers in the state and external bodies to enhance their performance.
She expressed satisfaction over the large turnout of the cooperative societies, which, she said, were willing to key into the state governmentâ€™s vision in agriculture.
The director said that so far, the ministry had collated data on over 100 farmersâ€™ cooperatives within Cross River South senatorial district.
Ubi, however, observed that cooperative societies in the state were often misconstrued to be avenues through which people could get loans from government for other purposes.
She condemned the practice, regretting that some farmers had obtained loans in the past, only to use them for other purposes such as marriage and burial ceremonies.
She said that the state government would, henceforth, grant loans and other incentives to only serious minded and genuine farmers in the state.
The director added that before such loans would be granted, a thorough inspection of the applicantsâ€™ farms would be conducted.
Ubi further advised farmers to always keep records of their farming activities as directed by government because government would respond to the requests made by only such people.
She also called on farmersâ€™ groups in the state to go into all season farming, saying that this would make them achieve greater success in their endeavours.
The director enjoined the people, especially youths, to embrace farming, reminding them that crude oil, which is the countryâ€™s economic mainstay, was exhaustible.