Yam farmers in Bayelsa State have expressed optimism over bumper harvest during the new planting season, even as they pray for God’s guidance and protection in their respective farms.
The farmers, who celebrated the new yam festival in Yenagoa, the state capital, said the celebration was to prepare them for the new season.
Speaking during the festival, a yam farmer and deputy President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Bayelsa State, Chief Ogonna Chris Alatu, described the celebration as very special to all Igbos in Bayelsa State, as it heralds the coming of new yam in the markets.
He also used the opportunity to encourage citizens to take up farming, as it is a veritable way to boost the nation’s economy.
He said: “We are here to thank God Almighty for the lives and protection He has given to us as farmers, we are also praying for continuous protection so that we won’t be facing what we used to face in previous seasons.
“I use this opportunity as the chief priest of Shegbelebe to do my new yam festival to prepare for the new planting season and also thank God for a successful season last year.
“New yam festival is thanking God for the successful yam harvest and also thanking God for making us to be alive to witness this year’s harvest, because so many people will plant yam but won’t eat it. So many planned to eat yam but they couldn’t eat it, but we are alive to eat the yam we planted last year, the yam I’m eating today is the yam I harvested from my own farm.”
Also speaking, Mr. Amaechi Emeka, said the celebration signified fruitfulness, as it is part of thanksgiving to God who made the soil fertile for yam cultivation.
He said: “We are celebrating and eating our new yam to thank God for a fruitful planting season, it is very important to celebrate the new yam because you are taking something from the farm, which signifies fruitful harvest.”