Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom has called for increased community participation in Agriculture to ensure large food production in the country.
The governor, who made the call at the weekend when he inaugurated a community based Songhai model farm, the Ibom Integrated Farms Limited at Awa Ndon, Onna Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom state called on communities to venture into massive agricultural production for the attainment of the envisaged food security and sustainable growth in Nigeria.
He spoke of agriculture as a potential source of Industrialization, economic sustainability, wealth creation and employment generation and commended the effort of the Paramount Ruler of the area, His Royal Majesty Edidem Raymond Inyang for his vision in going into the community farm project to boost food sufficiency in the state.
According to him, “It takes a dedicated and passionate patriot to add value to our common enterprise of diversifying the economy and helping the government expand the layers of its growth and productivity.”
He emphasised on his administration’s preparedness to encourage such initiative saying “If creativity and ideas are found anywhere, I’ll follow. So take creativity and ideas to your community, I’ll follow you there.”
He expressed optimism that in no time 70 percent of food consumed in the state would be produced in the state and lend his voice to operators of hospitality ventures to patronize the farm to boost their services.
Justifying the vision of the project, the Paramount Ruler of Onna Edidem Raymond Inyang, who is also the Chairman Onna Community Development Committee and the Ibom Integrated Farms Limited, said “our objectives are both economic and social as we want to serve as the model for others to learn a lot because no other person will want to invest in our community if we don’t take the lead.”
He said that the farm, which is situated on a 42-acre of land, engages in poultry, livestock, Aqua culture, Ecotourism, Training and food crop cultivation, adding that it replicates the Songhai model having created employment for more than 200 youths and called for government intervention to enable the farm meet its expected target by upgrading the school to agricultural vocational institution as well as provision of perimeter fence to provide security in the farm.
Edidem Raymond Inyang also made a case for the capped oil wells in the area to be listed in the marginal oil fields for exploitation to attract more investors to the area.
Similarly the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Uduak Udoinyang called on other communities in the state to emulate the Onna community gesture by going into massive agricultural ventures to stimulate the economy and attract investment in the agricultural sector.