By Timothy Ekpo
As part of the strategy to boost food sufficiency and check global hunger, the Akwa Ibom government has said it has put in place proactive measures through agro-rebirth programmes to bring succour to fight hunger among the people.
Gov Udom Emmanuel stated this at the 2022 World Food Day, organised by the Ministry of Agriculture at the Ibom Hall grounds, Uyo.
At the celebration, which had as its theme, “Leave no one behind,” the governor, who was represented by the deputy governor, Mr Moses Ekpo, stated that prior to the global adoption of food safety as a talking point for World Food Day, Akwa Ibom had already introduced unique Akwa Ibom initiatives in food processing, mechanisation and greater hygiene, adding that the state was on top of the game in food safety protocols.
Emmanuel, affirmed that government had embarked on several remedial measures including the multi-billion naira IBB flood control project, which covers three local government areas of Uyo, Ibesikpo Asutan and Nsit Ibom, all within the farming belt comprising numerous villages, targeted to tackle the menace of flooding in farming communities.
The governor said the event was a global vehicle for awareness creation about hunger, malnutrition and the need for sustainable food production, which he said was a critical sector in the state’s economy.
Emmanuel pointed out that people across the world were struggling to cope with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, and given the impact of armed conflict in Ukraine, increasing threats of climate change, flooding and rising inflation in many large economies across the world, he affirmed that there was a need to build sustainability in food access to enable citizens have regular access to enough nutritious food.
He noted that among agro-rebirth programmes, the green house initiative was aimed at mobilising and raising new generation of farmers, adding that the Green House Technology had enabled people to register strong participation in the cultivation of shrubs like tomatoes, onions, green pepper etc.
The governor further disclosed that the Dakkada Global Oil(Akwa Palm) project in Esit Eket, awaiting commissioning is a vote for inclusiveness, in that it takes away travail from traditional oil palm industry and consequently retain peasants in the state in productive agricultural activities.
“Indeed, here in Akwa Ibom State, all hands are on deck, and like the United Nations, the driving philosophy is ‘Leave no one behind’. Such inclusive and collective action across the countries of the world is what makes the World Food Day one of the most celebrated days in the United Nations calendar,which stresses the need to ensure healthy diet,” he added.
While commending the commissioner for agriculture, Dr Offiong Offor, and her team for the initiative of gathering people together for the event, he opined that without a doubt the commemorative action will achieve its objectives of leveraging on the production and consumption of safe food while also ensuring that food is accessible to as many as possible.
The commissioner for agriculture, Dr Offiong Offor, in her remarks, said the World Food Day celebration was an annual gathering with agriculture stakeholders observed over the world across member nations of the United Nations to create awareness on strategies of ensuring access to safe and nutritious food for all which will promote good health and sustain life.
Offor commended the state governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel,for his strides and passionate disposition for agriculture, adding that the state government has further proven its commitment by implementing its blueprints through various policies and programmes ranging from sensitisation, distribution of farm inputs, access to finance, capacity development workshops among others for different farmergroups.
She maintained that the Ministry of Agriculture has vigorously pursued zero hunger tolerance by owning skill transfer plots across the state for the cultivation of various food and cash crops.
The keynote speaker at the event, Professor Okon Ansa, said it was a call to action to address the problem of food insecurity, undernourishment and malnutrition in the society.
He said food is essential for survival but nutritious food will help fight against diseases and daily stress of living.
Giving an overview of the theme, Ansa listed a few recommendations which includes, women being empowered to enable them become more productive, improvement of processing and storage of commodities.
He called on government to set a standard for proper nutritious food for our children and ensure that the standards are met. He further stated that the most vulnerable people should be the target while encouraging government to deploy resources and get them working.
Ansa said that with this recommendations more nutritious food will be produced and in the process much more nutritious food.
Highpoint of the event was a march past competition with food items by farmers across the 31 local government areas, symbolic presentation of food items to the beneficiaries, as well as presentation of goodwill messages.
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