Governor Udom Emmanuel’s incursion in the agricultural sector has boosted food production in the state and youths have keyed seized the opportunity to become employers of labour rather than wait for white collar jobs.
Before now, no one imagined that cucumber, tomato and other home staples could grow on Akwa Ibom soil but Udom Emmanuel sees beyond what many people’s fear could take. He introduced the Dakkada philosophy challenging indigenes to rise to the occasion, and lead the agricultural revolution through AKEES. The result is really amazing, making people more involved in farming than before.
The green houses and other innovations introduced by the Governor have enhanced cultivation of vegetables and other consumables across the state and also ensured that the state becomes a leading tomato producing state in Nigeria.
Currently, over 108,000 seedlings of tomatoes are being transplanted from the nursery to beds with expected yields projected for the next two months. The target is 100 hectares of tomatoes field and 7 hectares have so far been reached. The farm is part of the Governor’s post Covid19 economic recovery strategy and is poised at boosting tomato availability across the state. The aim is to provide excess food for local consumption, employment for the teeming youths of the state, industrial raw materials for agro based industries, alleviation of poverty as well as generate a rapid return on investment for the State.
Since inception, Governor Emmanuel has shown proof that government can work and that no excuse can substitute for its workability. Akwa Prime Hatchery today is producing 17,000-day old chicks weekly alongside processed poultry products. The Governor is also partnering with World Bamboo Organisation for bamboo development in the State. There is a 10 hectares piece of land also cultivated with tomato at Ekeya, Okobo LGA.
The administration has Successfully trained 10 Akwa Ibom Animal scientists on a Goat Multiplication and Insemination Programme in South Africa, and also trained over 360 youths in Israel on various agricultural enterprises.
This administration has adopted a revolutionary approach in project execution. Since the discovery and commercial exploitation of oil, agriculture which was the state’s economic mainstay had long been relegated. Successive government’s pledge to diversify the economy through emphasis on agriculture has remained mere rhetoric. But the Udom’s administration has however dared to be different.
Aside the massive production of food, Akwa Ibom State Government has also identified the need for accessibility to and availability of food across the state and has ensured that farmers in rural areas have access to urban markets.
About 520km of rural roads have been identified for construction through the Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP), a World Bank-sponsored project in the state, to which the Governor has already paid counterpart funding.
In one of his keynote addresses, Governor Emmanuel stated that Nigerians should be ready to replace the SUVs on the roads with tractors in the farm. The Government has procured 10 tractors for a tractor hiring centre in Onna to be handled and managed by farmers not government. His policy on agriculture seems embedded in the orientation that a country that cannot feed itself is doomed.
Indeed, it is in the area of agriculture that this government has made the boldest imprint. Its policy and programmes on agriculture are innovative, practical, sustainable and of course without losing sight of the economics of scale.