By Emmanuel Ebong
The commissioner for agriculture has stated that the African Continental Food Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) has offered Africa an opportunity to explore the economic potentials of the economy which will yield sustainable growth.
Dr. Offiong Offor stated this at a 2-day South-South Regional Stakeholders Consultative Forum on the development of National Strategy and Framework for the Promotion of Commodities Market Access, which took place in Uyo.
Speaking on the theme: “Developing a National Strategy and Framework for Commodities Market Access,” thecommissioner noted that the implementation of the blueprint of sustainable growth will generate income and achieve a stabilized economy for Nigerians in Agribusiness.
Offor said, “I believe that when the plan of sustainable growth is implemented, it will generate income locally and foreign exchange to aid the attainment of a stable economy.
“It will grant us access to different markets in the world, ensure diversification from oil to agriculture and create employment opportunities for the teeming population in different value chains,” she added.
The commissioner, who revealed that agriculture is key in the present administration, applauded Gov Udom Emmanuel for commissioning the coconut factory which will boost income and generate employment in the state.
Offor expressed confidence that the outcome of the meeting will project the agricultural products in Nigeria, Africa and the international markets.
In his remarks, the commissioner for Trade and Investment, Engr. Camillus Umoh, noted that the Ministry of Trade and Investment is the vanguard of creating enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
Umoh, who was represented by the director of Commerce from the Ministry of Transport and Investment, Mr. Aniefiok Idiong,advised participants to form clusters which will enable them purchase equipment needed to process agricultural products for exports.
Also speaking, the zonal coordinator, Nigeria Agribusiness and Agro Industry Development Initiative, Mr. Howard Usen, in an interview, said the aim of the programme was to drive improvement in the agricultural sector, create a platform for farmers to export their products, bridge the knowledge gap and explore opportunities for the African market.
Usen reasoned that Nigeria has the largest market in Africa, thus the need to expose the participants to the required information, for them to compete favourably at the global market.
On the issue of implementation, he noted that plans are underway to inaugurate an Implementation Committee Meeting at the State level, adding that recommendations reached will be communicated to local farmers and monthly review meetings held to monitor and evaluate the progress rate of the exercise conducted.
Goodwill messages from the zonal head, Corporate Affairs Commission, Mr. Alisi Chukwuemeka; the regional manager, Bank of Industry, Mr. Patrick Irabor, and others called on participants to collaborate as a team for easy access to loans from the Bank of Industry.
The Stakeholder’s Forum also featured presentations and technical sessions.