The Akwa Ibom Youths for Agriculture and Food Sufficiency Initiatives (AKYFAFS) has made public its contributions towards the realization of food sufficiency in the state.
The director-general of the group, Mr Daniel Udoenang, an Architect, told Midweek Pioneer Agric that his group, with branches in all the local government areas of the state, was into Agric Preneurship where Akwa Ibom Youths are mobilized to see agriculture as a business venture for profitmaking.
Udoenang said it was in realization of this objective that AKYFAFS cultivated pineapple plantation at Ntak Inyang in Itu Local Government Area that was featured in the state Calendar.
The group, he said, went a step further by acquiring large acres of land at Itai Esuk Inyang community in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area, where 110 million plantain standswere raised for the launching of the 2017 farming year by the commissioner for agriculture and the state director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD).
The plantain, he said, were successfully harvested and brought to the state headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture, Uyo for patronage by the Akwa Ibom public.
Udoenang, flanked by the director of Agric Project and Production, Prince Ben Offiong, said a demonstration farm was also acquired by his group at Ntak Inyang, Itu Local Government Area, where water melon was cultivated in large quantity to proof that Akwa Ibom soil was favourable for the survival of the cereal crop in the state.
Furthermore, he said the group was also involved in the floating of a fish pond project where 10,000 catfish were produced at Ntak Inyang community in Itu Local Government Area for sales to members of the public thereby contributingto food sufficiency in the state.
In addition, he said the group also acquired 10 acres of land for cassava cultivation at Ikot Ekwere community in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area and another one at Oku Iboku, Itu Local Government Area, where they cultivated cassava on three acres of land, respectively.
Udoenang said: “Members of Akwa Ibom Youth For Agriculture and Food Sufficiency Initiatives (AKYFAFS) are everywhere in the state. We have over 10, 000 membership strength across the 31 local government areas of the state. The reason you have been seeing us in every agricultural programme and functions of the state government is because of our contributions to food sufficiency in the state.”
He said the state Ministry of Agriculture does not joke with his group because of their contributions towards the stability of prices of foodstuff in the market.
However, he identified poor funding and the mindset of their host communities as their major challenges in their agricultural production, noting that their host communities are always jealous of the quality and quantity of agricultural produce they make from the land they acquired from them.
The director-general of the agricultural youth group, noted with regret that some members of their host communities failed to know that high yields of crops depend on the intensity of work done in the farm.
According to him, farming does not start and end in the cultivation of crops, but requires weeding of the farm twice in a year and providing the crops with the basic nutrients such as fertilizer or poultry dropping to encourage rapid growth and high yields.
The agricultural youth group, he said, could have generated water out of desert if funding was not one of their major challenges, especially in the acquisition of large acres of land for agricultural production and processing in the state.
Udoenang announced plans to embark on the cultivation of vegetable crops this farming year, assuring that efforts were being intensified for the acquisition of large acres of land in Uruan Local Government Area.
He declared the resolve of his group to cooperate with the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure availability of food in the state, pledging his members collective to support towards the success of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s completion agenda.