The Akwa Ibom state government is set to take agriculture in the state to the next level by the establishment of industrial farms in all the wards and local government in the state.
This development is a follow-upon the recent training of agribusiness operators under Agribusiness EnterpriseDevelopment Programme, AEDP, sponsored by the Akwa Ibom State government incollaboration with Elkanis and Partners.
In the plan outline bythe state government supervisors of agriculture would be employed and trained asagric officers and then deployed to local government to introduce sustainablefarming in the hinterlands.
This, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr.Glory Edet, explained would encourage such farmers go into commercial farming.
Addressing the first batch of AEDP graduates in her office, the commissioner noted that “after the swearing-in of local government chairmen and appointment of supervisors, we will invite supervisors for agriculture for training whether they are agric-based or not, from there we will penetrate all the wards.
“They must develop a farm in all the wards and local government areas. “Any moment from now we want to ensure government agric lands all over the state are well utilised to ensure food sufficiency.
“Trainees from this programme will be hired to work on those farms which will create jobs and upscale food productivity.” Dr Edet thanked Governor Emmanuel for making agriculture take its rightful place in the state.
She revealed that the success of agriculturein the state is only made possible by Governor Emmanuel whom she saidunderstands that agriculture is the only means of reducing poverty.
She hailed the trainees for showing commitmentand promised to engage them in the state government one-million-onions-standscultivation plan.
The Commissionerrevealed that the essence of engaging the graduated trainees is to impact themwith more knowledge in order to enable them begin their onions farming.
Meanwhile, report of the week-long trainingpresented to the Commissioner for Agriculture by the Programme Director, AEDP,Mr. Ekanikpong Ben, indicated that the programme is focusing primarily on keyvalue chains in the agricultural sector including vegetables, crop andlivestock production.
Mr. Ben averred that Ministry of Agriculture/AEDP training programme will strengthen business linkages among producers, processors and aggregators; reinforce existing business network and increase their competitiveness through improved access to knowledge, technology, land and seedlings.
He explained that “For sustainable economicgrowth in Akwa Ibom, agribusiness operators need the capacity to produce,process and sell high-quality goods to meet the market demand.
The report also showedthat the graduated trainees were trained in five different areas such as GIS,drone and tech application in agriculture; crop production and management;livestock production and management; agro-products processing/ packaging; andagribusiness financing, market access and business development.