Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel, has expressed his desire for a practical match-making of farmers and investors in subsequent food fairs in the state. Emmanuel spoke in Uyo, the state capital, when he declared open a Nutritious Food Fair jointly organised by the state government and HarvestPlus International.
The Governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Ekwuwem, commended women for their involvement in agriculture and challenged the men to borrow a leaf from them as, according to him, “farming is for both men and women”.
In his opening remarks, the Executive Director, Akwa Ibom Agricultural Investments, Umo Eno, said the ongoing Food Fair was an ample opportunity to link interested farmers in the state with investors across the country and beyond.
Eno, a pastor, noted that the Agric Expo was an avenue to create agricultural business and enhance food sufficiency in the state. According to him, the Nutritious Food Fair was in line with the completion agenda of Governor Udom Emmanuel-led administration, stressing that the governor was committed to ensuring that before leaving office, 80 percent of food consumed in Akwa Ibom State would be produced within.
Eno, also a farmer, said the governor was desirous of a paradigm shift from the dominance of subsistence farming to commercial farming or agricultural business. He disclosed that over 25 major investors in the agricultural sector were participating at the Fair and were willing to invest in the sector. Eno expressed optimism that such would add great value to the state.
The Agricultural Investments is a product of the governor’s high premium on agriculture for food sufficiency and wealth creation, and has a mandate to appraise all agricultural investment proposals submitted to the Corporation by investors, attract and promote domestic capital mobilisation and foreign investment for agricultural development, as well as coordinate the implementation of agricultural investments in the state, amongst others.
On the sidelines, Eno told journalists that the Food Fair was packed with trainings on different feed and food production, and that the Directorate of Agricultural Investments was available to work with youths and other individuals that are serious to go from planting, processing and other post production activities.
While acknowledging that agriculture is capital intensive, Eno insisted that emphasis should not be placed on financial involvement but on passion for agriculture. He regretted the very low participation of youths and urged everyone, particularly the youths to embrace the opportunity created by the Food Fair, government’s premium on agriculture, and the enabling environment to venture into commercial farming and shun social vices.
High point of the event was the inspection of the different exhibitions by the governor’s representative in company with the commissioner for agriculture, Dr. Glory Edet, and other top officials of government.