By Frankie Ifop, Calabar
The 3rd edition of the Northern Cross River State Cultural Festival, christened NorthFest is set to honour the ‘Best Agricultural Innovation Machine’ in other to inspire those in the Agric sector to create more wealth for the state and the nation.
The Senior Special Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade on Event Management and Chairman, Central Planning Committee NorthFest 2019, Hon. Ken Aklah, disclosed this on Monday while briefing newsmen in Calabar, adding that the award will translate to increased food production.
“The Governor in his deliberate attempt to bring out the ingenuity of the people of Northern Cross River, has instituted a mouthwatering prize for the ‘Best Agric Innovation Machine’ in this year’s NORTHFEST. This initiative will invariably cause the people to unleash their potentials in agric machine fabrication thereby reducing the man-hour in the agric value chain.
“Besides, this will translate to increased food production. It must be noted at this juncture that this award is simply an addition to already existing prizes for the Best Harvester, NorthFest King and Queen, Best Traditional Wrestler, Best Palm Wine Tapper, etc. The State Government has also concluded plans to buy off all surplus farm produce displayed at the Festival mini-market to check post-harvest losses”, Aklah said.
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Like the Carnival Calabar and Festival and Leboku Festival for the people of Southern and Central Senatorial District, the NorthFest 2019 is characterised by merriment and thanksgiving for the people of the North; as farmers bring home their cherished bumper harvest after a prolong period of planting and waiting.
The NorthFest 2019 theme according to Aklah is “Humanity: Uniting the people, increasing production”- which presupposes that “humanity is the centre piece of all our endeavours be it in tourism, industrialisation, agriculture, etc. When the people are united, they can form a formidable front to be resourceful in their agricultural production and other spheres of human enterprise”.
Filtering questions from newsmen, the SSA on Events Management, Content Development and Promotion, Noel Ugbong, said the festival has already commenced and the grand finale will be holding on November 30, 2019.
He added that, “The Festival is meant to alleviate the poverty of the people by giving them the morale and exposing their farm produce to other parts of Nigeria and the world.
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“Each year, new hotels are being built due to the influx of traffic to Ogoja and other local governments in the North.
“Cross River State is known for her rich culture and tourism; and tourism is a vehicle that creates wealth. Therefore, our festivals are designed in such a manner that, even the common man will be a beneficiary”, Ugbong said.
The SSA also said doors are opened for all investors who want to impact on the people. He also said that cars and cash prizes will be given to the King and Queen of NorthFest, others.