CHALLENGES IN ADMINISTERING THE CROSS RIVER STATE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, NIGERIA
The study was conducted to identify the challenges in administering the Cross River State Ministry of Agriculture, Nigeria. All the staff of the ministry constituted the population for the study. A proportionate sampling technique was used in selecting respondents, with twenty percent (20%) of respondents from each of the departments. Thus the total sample size for the study was one hundred and thirteen (113) respondents. Percentages, mean and frequency were used in the presentation and analysis of the data collected. The result of the study showed that the majority of staff (85.5%) were married and 64.5% of respondents were males; the mean age of staff was 43.85%. About 43.5% of the respondents had Bachelor of science (B.Sc) as their highest educational qualification, above average (55.3%) of the staff specialized in agricultural science related discipline. Results revealed that the State government (85.5%) was the ministry’s major source of funding, and 80.9% indicated that fund was insufficient. They agreed the approved budget was three hundred and sixty nine million, four hundred and nineteen thousand, three hundred and sixty five hundred, forty one kobo (N 367,419,365.41) rather than a proposed budget of one billion, five hundred and sixty eight million, six hundred and twenty two thousand, eight hundred and sixty three naira, zero kobo (N1,568,622,863.00) for different departments. The ministry is understaffed by three hundred and fifty seven persons (357) and lacks infrastructure as only buildings for offices was indicated as available (71.8%) and functional (62.7%) by respondents. Major constraints identified from this result were: poor funds for purchase of equipment (M=2.18), improper and inadequate staffing (M=1.55), insufficient electricity supply (M=2.49), inadequate funding of State ministry’s interrelationship activities (M=2.54). Results also show that the State ministry had weak linkage with universities (M=1.31) and the research institutes (M=1.37). Suggestions to address the challenges are: increased budgetary allocation (54.5%), training and retraining of staff (58.2%), constant recruitment (36.4%), funding for research work and facilities (32.7%).