In a broad sense, the policy of Mr Udom Emmanuel’s administration on agriculture, is to encourage full private sector participation in order to attain food security, sufficiency and best practices. Government is also to be strategically involved in creating a conducive agricultural environment for farmers, by of providing facilities and promoting programmes in collaboration with external agencies, institutions and government, for the development of agriculture in the state. The present government has equally committed itself to investing in agriculture, as a foreign exchange earner and use the sector to generate massive employment opportunities for its citizens.
The first step Governor Emmanuel took in his vision to revolutionise agriculture in Akwa Ibom State was to appoint a very intelligent, vibrant, unassuming and well focused leader in the person of Elder Ufot Ebong as the Coordinator of Akwa Ibom Enterprise and Employment Scheme (AKEES). This versatile, workaholic, egalitarian, well exposed politician was all the Governor needed to make much impact in this sector.
Hear Elder Ufot Ebong: “The magnitude of commercial turn over of Tomato produce, onion cabbage and the corresponding Agro allied businesses emanating from the concise pristine effort of Governor Udom Emmanuel in Akwa Ibom has seen to it that no land is wasted or left fallow while the youths are roaming the street as unemployed.
“The hitherto wrong notion, that some edibles could not grow on Akwa Ibom soil has been debunked and proven in the contrary by the test running of over 30 crops which have yielded bountifully, within 6 months and one year. if green grasses can grow on our soil, why can’t cucumber, onions and the likes?
Now Akwa Ibomites can venture into commercial farming of this tested crops for export while maintaining international standard by refraining from Bush burning since Akwa Ibom is in tandem with global warming regulation”.
The administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel, has since inception in 2015, introduced several programmes to revamp the agricultural sector and encourage people to go back to farming. According to Elder Ufot Ebong, agriculture cannot be separated from the state’s overall development plan as the sector is being developed to equally stimulate the state’s economy.
Under the umbrella of AKEES, the Emmanuel-led administration has been providing farmers with credit, subsidies and incentives to boost their output and develop agriculture in the state. It has consistently provided farmers in the state with high yield and disease resistant varieties of crops and other planting materials, including providing professional guidance and assistance to fish farmers.
Apart from food security, the robust agricultural programmes of the current administration are designed to generate employment for the teeming unemployed youths in the state by encouraging them to go back to the land in order to resuscitate the sector.