By Ossom Asaka
The national coordinator of the Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP) has assured the Akwa Ibom Government that projects to be executed in the state under the Akwa Ibom State Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (AKS- RAAMP) would be of high quality and in accordance with global standard.
Mr Aminu B. Mohammed gave the assurance in Uyo during a state-wide stakeholders consultation and sensitisation workshop on RAAMP implementation held at Ibom Hall recently.
Mohammed who lauded the efforts of the state government at providing critical infrastructure for the overall benefit of the people, said RAAMP was happy that the state government has lived up to its counterpart responsibility for the implementation of the project in the state.
“Permit me to appreciate the Akwa Ibom Government for its efforts at making sure that it provides critical infrastructure for the benefit of the people of the state. From what we are seeing so far, there is no doubt that Akwa Ibom is leading in the area of counterpart funding, and we in RAAMP are quite appreciative of this partnership,” Mohammed stated.
The national coordinator who was represented by Mr Bukar Gana said so far, Akwa Ibom Government has paid N832 million as counterpart fund to the project.
He lauded the World Bank and the French Development Agency for their vision in conceiving the programme and for their sponsorship, noting that these contributions would go a long way to providing quality intervention projects in the state with a view to further improve the living standard of the people in the state.
Mohammed stated that the objective of RAAMP is to improve rural access and agricultural marketing in participating states while also strengthening the financial and institutional base for effective development, maintenance and management of the rural road network.
The national coordinator who described the condition of rural roads in the country as very deplorable, disclosed that it was the intention of RAAMP and its initiators to ensure that good access road network is created in the rural areas to ease movement of agricultural produce to available markets, thereby reducing production cost on the part of the farmers.
The commissioner for agriculture, Dr Offiong Offor, applauded Governor Udom Emmanuel for approving N832 million as counterpart fund for the implementation of the project in the state, adding that the governor’s foresight and faith have further progressed Akwa Ibom to its current height in the project.
She lauded the World Bank and the French Development Agency for their vision in initiating the programmes and expressed optimism that the project in no distant time “will crystalize in the construction of 500km rural roads, bridges and other cross-drainage structures as well as development of markets and agro-logistic centres across the state.”
Offor maintained that RAAMP would galvanize all agricultural value chains, promote their marketing options and provide other ancillary opportunities that will add value to our primary agricultural produce.
“This will enable our farmers to reduce production cost, maximize profit and above all, improve the general condition of lives across our rural communities,” she stated.
She disclosed that the essence of the workshop was to consult and sensitize principal stakeholders across the state, brainstorm and share experiences on the best way forward to ensure a successful implementation of the project in the state.
Offor lauded past commissioners in the Ministry of Agriculture as well as the Technical Committee on Agriculture and Food Sufficiency for their pioneering role in the implementation of the projects even as she also extolled the efforts by the state monitoring committee and the state project implementation unit for their respective contributions towards the success of RAAMP in the state.
The stakeholders consultation workshop which was also attended by representatives from the World Bank, the French Development Agency, leaders of non-governmental organisations, farmers association and chairmen from benefiting local government areas was on the theme: Rural Accessibility and Agro-Logistics: A Panacea for Socio-Economic Growth in Akwa Ibom State.