The Commissioner for Information and Strategy in Akwa Ibom State, Mr Charles Udoh, has revealed that the aggressive agricultural sector reforms undertaken in the last three and half years of the administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel was driven by the passion to drive an agricultural revolution that will radically shoot up the state’s financial system and revolutionise Nigeria’s economy.
Mr Udoh, who spoke to newsmen recently on the state’s achievement in the areas of agriculture, said the administration was doing everything in synergy. “Even in our construction, our road networks are no more one directional. We have road networks that are linking the industrial and agricultural hub. This is to ensure that cost of transportation of agricultural products and cost of doing business for the industries we are building are minimised as much as possible,” he explained.
According to him, with the resources from oil dwindling gradually, the state government is adopting proactive measures and best practices to assure reduced dependence on oil derivation through massive agricultural development and massive state-wide agricultural schemes. These, he noted to include mechanised agriculture, increased empowerment of farmers for improved production, and accelerated livestock schemes to enhance the quality of life of every citizen. For instance, he said the coconut refinery and plantation project, the new cattle ranch built in partnership with a Mexican company, Akwa Prime Poultry and Hatchery, the cassava value-chain project and mega garri processing factories, the cocoa resuscitation programme, the vegetable green houses project and the tomato processing plant among others, were some of the agricultural projects that stand Akwa Ibom out in the race for food sufficiency, economic growth and social transformation.
“The Coconut oil sector is nature’s most endowed and benefiting tree to man. It is one of the longest surviving plants with more than 365 usages and a value chain that triples other economic generating ventures. The coconut oil refinery alone is expected to provide direct employment for more than 500 youths who would also undergo training in various aspects of the project,” he revealed.
He said one way the state was strengthening the economy of the state was to develop a value chain for poultry. This, he said, led to the development of a huge hatchery that has a capacity to produce 230,000 day old chicks per week.
Stating that Akwa Ibom state is making revolutionary agricultural strides in cattle ranching, Udoh revealed that agreement has been concluded with an investor from Mexico to bring in 2,000 herds of cattle to the ranch.
According to him, “allied projects coming with the ranch include meat processing, yogurt processing, and milk processing factories.This fully integrated cattle farm will produce milk, cheese, meat, hide and skin for various economic uses.”
Summarising the strategies used in the state’s agricultural revolution, the commissioner said: “basically, the state is deploying Cooperative Agriculture, Value Addition, Out-Grower Schemes, Public-Private-Partnerships, and commercialisation. So far, the results have been quite encouraging. Agriculture is the bedrock of any economy and foundation for many other industries. It is quite thoughtful that we are equally investing in the complete value chain.”
Source: The Nations Newspaper