By Emmanuel Sam
The battle in opposition to Covid-19 has not distracted Governor Udom Emmanuel from his deal with diversifying the economic system of Akwa Ibom State, driving the State in direction of self reliance and fewer dependence on funds from federal authorities. His imaginative and prescient is to push the frontier of growth within the non-oil sector of the economic system.
Early in his first tenure, the Governor had recognized a number of low hanging fruits within the sector, one in every of which is agriculture, and he expects to earn speedy return on funding for the State. His funding in greens manufacturing, cassava, poultry, oil palm, cocoa, coconut and different crops have paid off guaranteeing meals safety, offering job alternatives and offering uncooked supplies for agro allied industries now dotting the State’s panorama.
In the course of the 31st anniversary of the creation of Akwa Ibom State, Governor Udom Emmanuel declared, “we’re diversifying our economic system and inserting emphasis on agriculture. We’re producing meals to feed our individuals by means of our investments in agriculture. Akwa Hatchery is working and producing, the Cassava mills are in operation throughout the State.”
The Governor has redoubled efforts by consolidating on these facets which have proven promise. For example, for the reason that State undertook cultivation of greens in a managed setting ( Inexperienced Home) it has not seemed again. Its effort has attracted accolades from many outstanding Nigerians together with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who praised the Governor on his consistency in pursuing agricultural initiatives just like the inexperienced home challenge.
In line with the previous president, “the inexperienced home challenge initiative is exemplary in agricultural manufacturing of staple meals merchandise and uncooked materials for cottage industries processing in addition to significant steps to making sure meals sufficiency within the State, including that investments of the Akwa Ibom authorities within the agricultural sector was worthy of emulation by different state governments within the nation.”
Equally, in an effort to consolidate on the good points of the cocoa reintroduction programme by the Udom administration, the State authorities this month, June 2020, distributed 500,000 cocoa seedlings and different farm inputs to cocoa farmers within the State. The train which reportedly marked the flag-off of the brand new cocoa planting season, will additional encourage farmers to plant extra thereby boosting the rating of Akwa Ibom State as cocoa producer in Nigeria.
This was revealed by the Commissioner for Agriculture and Girls Affairs, Dr Glory Edet, throughout the presentation of the seedlings to cocoa farmers on behalf of Governor Udom Emmanuel, at Odoro Ikpe Cocoa Nursery Farm, Ini Native Authorities Space.
In line with Edet the Governor’s help to cocoa farming has made the State the most important cocoa producing state in Nigeria. She acknowledged that “past guaranteeing abundance in cocoa manufacturing, Akwa Ibom State now has the most effective number of cocoa within the nation. The Governor has ensured that agro chemical substances are distributed to the farmers to chase away pests. Fertilisers and sprayers have additionally been offered to the cocoa farmers to extend their yields”.
Moreover, investing in industrial cultivation of coconut has been a burning ardour of this administration. Whereas many have been contented with native consumption of the miracle nut, the Governor noticed an entire new world of alternatives in it. A part of his imaginative and prescient, when he flagged of the St. Gabriel Coconut Oil Manufacturing unit on Might 24, 2017 was to create a very new industrial hub within the State counting on the coconut worth chain. This imaginative and prescient is materializing with the completion of the manufacturing facility situated in Ikot Ekpuk, Mkpat Enin Native Authorities Space. Nonetheless, there may be want for locales, indigenous entrepreneurs and traders to purchase into this nice alternative. The manufacturing facility has a capability of processing between 300,000 to 1 million coconuts each day. This can be a clarion name on each group within the State to begin cultivating coconuts so as to grow to be a part of the availability chain.
As a world monetary knowledgeable, Governor Emmanuel is poised to ascertain a brand new avenue the place Akwa Ibom State can earn overseas trade. His determination to ramp up manufacturing of cocoa and coconut may be very strategic. In line with marketwatch.com, the worldwide marketplace for coconut oil is anticipated to develop by roughly 4.5% over the subsequent 5 years, reaching 4900 million USD in 2024 from 3760 million USD in 2019. Additionally, as at June 24, 2020, the Worldwide Cocoa Organisation, ICCO, pegged the value of cocoa bean at 2170.44 USD per tonne. Contemplating the worth of coconut oil and cocoa bean within the worldwide market, one would see clearly the place Governor Emmanuel is driving the State economic system to.
Within the space of meals safety, the coverage thrust of the Udom administration to make sure that 80% of meals consumed within the State is produced domestically, paid off throughout the transient state by state lockdown because of the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic. The Secretary to the State Authorities, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, who heads the State Covid-19 Administration Committee, introduced that every one the palliative offered to the individuals would have been virtually unimaginable within the face of the lockdown throughout the nation, if the Governor had not invested within the manufacturing of staples together with flour, rice and garri.
Buoyed by these many successes within the agriculture sector, Governor Emmanuel is taking up one more problem. This time, the Governor needs to extend the variety of profession farmers within the State. This can be a problem as a result of most individuals engaged in farming, achieve this at subsistent degree. Nonetheless, the Governor is decided to alter that with the current flag off of farmers’ enumeration train by the Akwa Ibom Funding Company, AKIICORP.
The Governor, who was enumerated because the primary cocoa and plantain farmer within the State, has assured that with the train, agriculture would grow to be a significant driver of the State’s economic system and convey to an finish over-dependence on authorities for survival. He maintained that there’s want for the individuals to harness the assets within the State and create wealth out of agriculture.
With this newest transfer, Governor Emmanuel has made it clear that his administration will proceed to push the frontier of State growth counting on a really reliable sector – agriculture.