By Aniekeme Finbarr
The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, has reiterated his administration’s resolve to implement policies that will increase food productivity and improve the economy.
The Governor made the remarks while flagging off Fadama 3 Additional Financing Cassava Intervention Project at the Akadep Seed Farm, Awa Iman in Onna Local Government Area.
Governor Emmanuel noted that the problem of food insufficiency in the country can be traced to the inability of Nigeria to develop her value chains over time.
He pledged his commitment to encourage farmers in the state to increase their yield by providing strategic funding, improved seedlings and skills development.
In his welcome remarks, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr Mathew N. Ekaette thanked the Governor for approving the project and encouraging farmers to embark on massive cultivation of cassava.
Ekaette said the Governor has also increased the processing capacity of cassava as the ministry is installing cassava processing plants in the three senatorial districts of the state with a total output of 60 metric tonnes per day.
The Agric Commissioner noted that although the Fadama 3 partners have given the state 800 hectares target in the first planting season, the state is working on a 2000 hectares target.
He urged persons who are currently occupying government lands to quit as government is ready to take back its land for farming purposes.
THE AKWA IBOM STATE FADAMA 3 ADDITIONAL FINANCING PROJECT (CASSAVA)
The project development objective of Fadama 3 is to increase the income of farmers on a sustainable basis.
The Akwa Ibom State, Fadama 3 Additional Financing focus on improving cassava chain in the participating clusters and linking them with off-takers and organized markets.
The project aims to ach government’s objective of increasing the productivity of farmers thereby boosting food sufficiency and briefing down the market price of staple foods like garri and fufu by at least 50%within the next two (2) years.
A COMMITMENT TO AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
The Akwa Ibom Ibom State Government policy on Agriculture is hinged on mitigating food scarcity. Since cassava is a staple food, the cassava intervention project the government says seeks to achieve food sufficiency by bringing down the market price of staple foods like garri and fufu by at least 50% within the next two years.
Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Mathew Nathan Ekaete has said the project will create employment and additional income through cassava value-chain, processing and market.
Ekaete has emphasized that the project will promote cooperative activities and the production of cassava in clusters while encouraging the development of cassava value chain and cottage industries.
He said the project will encourage the use of improved and high yielding cuttings through partnerships with reputable agencies.
The Akwa Ibom State Government has assured that the project has a well thought out plan and strategy for implementation.
The State Project Coordinator, Mr Richard Sam has said the project will harp on sensitization of participating communities, the formation and registration of farmer’s cooperatives, preparation of business plan and providing matching grants directly to benefitting production groups and clusters.
He enumerated the beneficiaries to include farmers in all the local government areas including women, youth, and the vulnerable. Service providers, input suppliers, agro dealers, processors, off-takers and marketers are proposed beneficiaries.