Food costs are high due to extortion and poor roads, according to C’River farmers

by Amos Kalu
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The deplorable condition of farm produce evacuation roads and the frequent extortions by government agents have been bemoaned by farmers and community leaders in the northern senatorial district of Cross River.

In the northern region, which includes Yala, Ogoja, Obudu, Bekwarra, and Obanliku, agriculture is the primary source of income.

Agriculture

They claimed that because of the poor roads connecting their villages, they are unable to transport their produce to markets and urban areas, which has resulted in the waste of their farm crops.

“The issue of numerous extortion checkpoints in these villages and towns has become very worrisome,” stated Joseph Odey, a community leader in Okuku, Yala LGA.

Farmers who attempt to transport their crops on market days come across numerous checkpoints manned by alleged government agents who demand money.

Some people extort farmers under the guise of agricultural produce inspectors, but they actually do no inspection at all.

“This leads to an increase in prices for our people to buy to feed their families in these hard times, and it also discourages farmers from taking their produce to market.”

According to Oko Efuji, another farmer, the issue is particularly worse from June to October, when it rains most of the year and marks the end of the farming season.

The farmers urged Governor Bassey Otu to give the construction of rural roads top priority and to provide the funding and directives necessary for local government councils to begin mending their roads.

As we get closer to another harvest season, it would be really beneficial for us in Cross River North if the governor could take swift action to address these concerns. By building us good roads in our rural villages and towns, you can help us escape poverty’, Efuji remarked.

In separate interviews, farmers stated that their two main issues are poor road systems and excessive extortion.

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