Urges farmers to reciprocate gesture with high productivity
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Sunday, lauded the Governor of Cross River State, Prof Ben Ayade, overtax exemption of farmers, especially smallholder farmers in the State.
The farmers’ association made the commendation through its National President, Arc Kabir Ibrahim, while speaking with Vanguard on the declaration made by the Governor and described it as uncommon.
Ibrahim who expressed gratitude said the Governor’s gesture opens a new vista for farmers and the sector in Cross River State, and that would boost food production and security including wealth creation for Cross Riverians in general.
The association over the years has been pressing to ease the financial burden on farmers across the country in order for them to have a sense of belonging is the engine-room of food production, availability, and sustainability.
It will be recalled that Governor Ayade inaugurated the Cross River Anti-Tax Agency in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, and charged them to exempt small scale businesses and small scale farmers from taxation.
According to Ayade it is part of COVID-19 palliatives of his administration for the vulnerable including smallholder farmers in the state and to protect them from all forms of tax burden due to their condition.
The Governor also decried unnecessary tax burden on the vulnerable population of the state, and charged the Cross River Anti-Tax Agency to “ensure that the poor masses of Cross River State and the small business owners do not come under the harsh hands of the desperate search for money by tax consultants in the state.”
He said: “The empathy shown by the Governor of Cross River State, Prof Ben Ayade, on the plight of the Smallholder farmers is uncommon and worth modeling by all Nigerian leaders.
“The All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, is ardently excited and appreciable of the show of sympathy by Governor Ayade and we commend his sympathetic stance.
Meanwhile, the association urged farmers in the State to reciprocate the gesture by going beyond the current productivity recorded, and also to come up with innovations that would be supported by the government to make citizens in the state food secured from the current farming season.
The farmers were also appreciated for their resilience over the years to produce food for the teeming population in the state and beyond despite the odds, and encouraged them not to be discouraged but should see the Governor’s gesture as a morale booster to do more in the agricultural sector.
The farmers’ boss also assures the farmers of the association’s support and will ensure their welfare and business is not hampered by the current COVID-19 pandemic, which he commended the Governor for the health security measures put in place to keep the State from penetration of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
“We urge the farmers of Cross River State to reciprocate the gesture by doing their utmost to bring about the desired food sufficiency in the entire State”, he stated.