The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel has emphasized the need for all to invest in any aspect of Agriculture for sustainable development and wealth creation in the state and country as a whole.
Governor Emmanuel stated this while declaring open a two-day Inter-Agency Retreat on Agricultural Investments, held at the Signatures Royalty Hotels and Recreations, Ewet Housing Estate, Uyo, on Monday.
He said that with the rich vegetation and favourable weather eighty per cent of what is consumed within the state should be produced in the state.
He said that his administration places a high premium on Agriculture due to its high investment potentials and the derivable benefits in industrialization and wealth creation, harping on the need for all to harness the Agricultural potentials to generate revenue and attract Agro industries to the state.
According to him, all the Local Government Areas have comparative advantages in various crops based on their soil adaptability for cultivation hence they should be harnessed.
“If I could own a farm no person should have an excuse not to cultivate the soil given the rich vegetation that is suitable for all-season cultivation, I hereby the Ministry of Agriculture to undertake free distribution of cassava stems for multiplication and high yield.
” Also, the Technical Committee on Agriculture must ensure that the rice produced in the state floods the market for use during the Christmas festivals”.
Furthermore, Governor Emmanuel revealed that the coconut refinery would also refine palm kernel and that the wild palm tree has rich nuts and oil better than other varieties that are good for edible oil.
He said that if every individual should invest in any aspect of Agriculture the state would in no distant time become a haven to investors while the farmers smile to the bank in their limousines.
“Such produce like Palms trees, Cocoa, Cassava Bamboo, Tomatoes, and also fisheries and livestock are sources for high returns as such any area that excels in the cultivation of any crop attracts a processing plant which would, in turn, produce more revenue to the farmers, the area and the state.
“Plans are underway to establish some agro value chain industries including an Ethanol plant, Toilet tissue making plant and sugar factory,” he said.
While commending organizers of the retreat, the governor charged all stakeholders to collaborate to achieve success in the drive for self-sufficiency and explore ways for exports.
Earlier the Commissioner for Agriculture Dr Glory Edet expressed appreciation to the Governor for his passion to make Agriculture a goldmine in the state with farmers getting value for their crops.
She said the retreat was for all the Agencies involved in Agro investment to brainstorm and evolve an action plan that would enhance efficiency in the Agro business chain.
The Head of Civil Service, Engr. Essien in a goodwill message lauded the passion the state governor had exuded by ensuring the drop in the price of Garri through aggressive cultivation of the staple food crop.
He said that civil servants have heeded the call to own a farm and this has paid off and the people now have garri at an affordable price index without depending on other states for staple foodstuffs.
The chairman Technical Committee on Agriculture, Prof. Edet Udo thanked Governor Emmanuel for providing leadership by turning the culture of Farming to Business of Farming and for bracing the challenge of food scarcity to abundance and providing Garri processing plants in all the nooks and crannies of the state and the possibility of cultivating crops such as Tomatoes, cucumbers,watermelon which hitherto were brought in from other states.
He said that now investors are coming in droves to explore Agricultural development for sustainable development and export thereby increasing the value chain.