By Emmanuel Ebong
Akwa Ibom government through the Ministry of Agriculture has flagged off first season planting for 2022 farming year in the state.
To this end, the state government through the Ministry of Agriculture has provided farmer groups with improved cassava cuttings and maize seeds for the purpose of commencing the first season farming in the state.
The commissioner for agriculture, Dr Glory Edet, while performing the ceremony at the Seed Multiplication Farm, IkotEkang, Abak Local Government Area, charged farmers to immediately commence farming activities in their different locations across the state.
Edet, represented on the occasion by the permanent secretary in the ministry, Mrs Mary Ukoette Bassey, lauded Governor Udom Emmanuel for the huge investment in agriculture which has translated into affordability and availability of food in the state.
She remarked with delight that the state government’s huge investment in the growth and development of agriculture has helped to reduce to the bearest minimum the importation of food from the neighbouring states for consumption.
Edet explained that the first season planting flag-off ceremony for this year was made possible because of the importance Governor Udom Emmanuel attachs to the growth and development of agriculture to human existence and industrial growth.
Her words: “Without Governor Udom Emmanuel this occasion wouldn’t be possible. Farmers would not have taken their rightful place in the production of agricultural produce in the state”.
The commissioner charged the people of the state to teach and encourage their children to be actively engaged in farming to ensure continuity of practical agriculture.
While urging the Akwa Ibom people irrespective of their social positions to embrace agriculture since nobody could survive without food, the dean of commissioners and special advisersnoted that the occasion signals the commencement of farming for all and sundry to embrace farming.
In his opening remarks, director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Obot Obot, explained that the three times rainfall this year was a blessing and a reminder for the people of the state to go to their respective farms and prepare them for cultivation, so that there will be enough food for the populace.
Obot, appreciated the commissioner for agriculture for leading the ministry well and the host community for their support towards the peaceful and successful hosting of the ceremony.
In his goodwill message, the zonal manager of the Akwa Ibom Agricultural Development Programme (AKADEP) for Abak, Pastor Idongesit Udoh, described the event as rewarding, considering the practical demonstration of cassava cuttings cultivation for people to learn and improve upon their farming techniques.
Udoh was optimistic that the knowledge gained from the practical demonstration of cassava cuttings cultivation during the occasion would enable many people to record greatness in their farms for increased yields and high productivity.
Also speaking, the consultant of Greenhouse, Uyo, MrEmmanuel Akpan, said the ministry of Agriculture has always gathered farmers on monthly or bi-monthly basis to support, train and empower them towards achieving food sufficiency.
Akpan was hopeful that the formal flag-off ceremony for the first season farming by the ministry would encourage farmers to kick start farming in view of the fact that they have been empowered with quality farm inputs to plant.
The state chairman, All Farmers Association (AFAN), Prince Bassey Inwang, while making his goodwill message appreciated Governor Udom for assisting farmers to perform creditably in the state, recalling with delight the inauguration of Ibom FADAMA Micro-finance Bank for the interest of farmers in addition to the provision of interest free loans as well as essential farm inputs distributions to farmers in the state.
Inwang reasoned that the trend of support by the state government to farmers was not an indication that the government is so rich, but was borne out of the importance the government attaches to Agriculture.
He solicited the cooperation of the Akwa Ibom people towards the successful implementation of the completion agenda and the succession plans of the Emmanuels led administration in the state.