The Government of Akwa Ibom state says it will do everything to ensure that its people key into all the initiatives of the Federal Government aimed at guaranteeing Agricultural development and food sufficiency.
Governor Udom Emmanuel stated this during a courtesy call on him at Government House, Uyo by a team from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Abuja in respect of the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme.
The Governor noted that if the schemes are actually implemented in strict compliance with the guidelines, they will make very major economic impacts in the whole country.
Governor Emmanuel expressed support to the Scheme and enjoined his people to be prepared to provide human and material resources to the outside world.
He explained steps he has taken to promote Agriculture since assumption of office as Governor and mentioned specific areas to be explored for increased foreign earnings.
“We are trying to let people know, very short period from now, the emphasis will be on things like, the crude coconut oil because research has shown that in terms of pharmaceutical, consumables and every single beauty product, it is the most desired and most sort after”.
Mr Emmanuel told his visitors that Akwa Ibom Government was planting 11,000 hectares of coconut trees and setting up a refinery to refine 1 million nuts everyday and called for support from the Federal Government in that direction.
“We need a whole lot of support from the Central Bank. We have the ideas but we do not have the money. If you provide the money, we will bring the ideas and then we can actually make the country much better,” Governor Emmanuel suggested.
He stated that democracy cannot stand in a country whose economy is wobbling, stressing that economy must be built first in order to sustain democracy.
“we are interested in building the economy and the economy will sustain democracy”.
The Governor pointed out that the state has all it takes in terms of good weather, soil and vegetation among other things freely given to Akwa Ibom by God, to explore for development of the country.
He emphasized the need for support from the center and assured of ability to achieve much in terms of Economic development.
Earlier, the team leader, Deputy Director, Development Finance Department of the CBN, Dr Amagwu Frank said the Presidential Monitoring Committee on Agriculture was in the state to begin the Anchor Borrower Programme of the Federal Government with Accelerated Agricultural Scheme.
Dr Frank said under the Scheme, the team was mandated to create 500,000 jobs across Nigeria with every state having a minimum of 10,000 new jobs for the next one year.
He said the scheme focuses on youths especially those between 18 and 35 years and pointed out what the programme is “dependent on food crop which the state has comparative advantage, that is least cost advantage. I am also aware that you have indicated interest in rice and cassava. ”
According to the Deputy Director, states are to provide the infrastructure, especially land in contiguous locations but due to difficulty in securing such Infrastructure, CBN has earmarked 1.5 billion naira for any state embarking on that project on the condition that there must be evidence of at least 1,000 farmers as take-off projects.
He spoke of other steps expected from the state to fully benefit from the programme and expressed the hope that with the success recorded on the Anchor Borrowers Programme, Nigeria will gradually end food importation.