OUR FUTURE GREATNESS IN AGRICULTURE
Governor Udom Emmanuel
The Akwa Ibom State governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel has declared that the future greatness of Akwa Ibom State is in agriculture. Hence, all Akwa Ibom citizens, he said, should embrace agriculture, not only for food sufficiency, but for wealth creation. He made this declaration on Wednesday at the Governor’s office while being enumerated as a farmer during the ongoing enumeration of all farmers in Akwa Ibom State.
While filling the data-gathering questionnaire presented at the occasion by the executive director, Agricultural Investments directorate in AKICORP, Pastor Umo Eno, the governor stated that he was satisfied that the first ever data-gathering exercise of all farmers, including himself, in Akwa Ibom State has begun and expressed optimism that the database of farmers will help immensely in statistical planning for the success of agricultural sector of the economy in the state.
The state chief executive who acknowledged that he was a farmer, with 300 hectares of cocoa and plantain cultivation in the state, stressed the necessity for all citizens to return to farming as the only alternative for greatness. “The only way forward to make our state great, the only way forward to achieve that sustainability in the economy and all other strata of what we are looking for, is to go back to the soil, and in this case, a particular reference is agriculture,” he reinstated.
He lauded the directorate of Agricultural Investments for her aggression in registering farmers; the initiative which he noted was geared “towards our dream of having the state to produce what we eat: the staple food should actually come from here.”
He expressed confidence that the farmer data-gathering, particularly with the deployment of information and communication technology will help in planning, adding: “I like the way you are partnering with ICT to create the database that will be used for years to come, not only for this administration but for successive administrations.”
The governor advised workers not to only depend on pension after retirement, and that they should be involved in agriculture which he said, will enable them earn more income than pension.
In his remarks, Pastor Umo Eno praised the governor for taking a pro-active approach towards repositioning agriculture as the economic mainstay of the state, especially for accepting to be enumerated as a cocoa and plantain farmer. He described the governor’s presence for the exercise as exemplary, noting that it will “encourage our elite class and our teeming youths to embrace agriculture as a business and as a post COVID 19 economic recovery growth plan, following the decline in oil revenue.”
According to Pastor Umo Eno, the outcome of the data-gathering of farmers will include: identification of all the farmers and their various crops; projection of the metric tonnage of various food crops planted in the state annually to boost the supply of adequate raw materials in the food value chain; drawing the attention of government and various donor agencies to give financial and technical assistance to farmers directly in specific areas of need to enhance food production and also supporting the production of staple food at competitive prices in the state.
The executive director assured the governor that the state will be proud of the database of farmers, which would filter information for statistical planning and serve as a major customer base for the incoming Ibom FADAMA Micro-Finance Bank.