By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
CALABAR – IN a bid to continue its leadership position in tourism development in the country, the Cross River State Government is using the Leboku International New Yam Festival to boost the state’s tourism initiative as well as promote agricultural cultivation in the state.
The Cross River State Government had in 2005 promoted the Ugep New Yam Festival to the international standard and christened it Leboku International New Yam Festival which attracts personalities from all walks of life including international organizations to the state.
Speaking while addressing journalists on the activities marking this year’s festival, Special Adviser to Governor Liyel Imoke on Events Management, Mr. Totsman Etoty said that the annual Leboku Festival has encouraged farming in the area.
Etoty said, “‘Leboku has encouraged people to go back to farming which was once the mainstay of the nation’s economy. You can see that today in Yakurr communities, young men and women are heavily involved in farming, particularly with government’s motivations which include cars and other tangible prizes.”
According to him, the festival, which has remained one of the major tourist events in the state, has brought tangible benefits to the Yakurr and Cross River State people in general.
“You would observe that influx of visitors to the city impacts positively on economic life of the people. All ‘eatables’ sold by the local people by the road-side are bought, cost of living also improves because there is no how you get visitors and you don’t get or learn one or two things from them.