Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, has decried imposition of outrageous tariff by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture on importation of crop seedling such as coconut and other crops into the country, saying this hinders sincere commitment to agricultural development.
Governor Emmanuel who made this known yesterday at Government House, Uyo during a courtesy call on him by the Course 25, Study Team of the National Defence College (NDC), currently on tour of the state said what Nigeria needs more than anything now is better subsidy to the Agricultural sector of the economy to enhance food sufficiency.
“It is better to subsidize Agriculture than crude oil in view of the fact that coconut, palm and kernel oil attract more income in the international market than crude oil.” He stated.
Governor Emmanuel also stressed the need for financial institutions to give long-term loans to farmers to aid in the development of agriculture beyond the subsistence level and observed that the tour which is anchored on the theme “Enhancing Food Security for National Development” is in response to needs of the time especially now that globalization has changed the perception of sovereignty.
He wondered why Nigerians would abandon agriculture in pursuit of oil wealth saying that the time has come for all to rise to fill the gap in agricultural development for employment generation, sustainability and wealth creation.
While thanking participants of the Course 25 Team for the visit and urged them to use their research findings to advise government on National security issues and to address food security issues Mr Emmanuel used the occasion to draw the team’s attention to activities of pirates and Gendarmes from the Republic of Cameroon.
He said “they have made life difficult for fishermen to do their businesses” and called on the security service to re-invent approaches that would ensure peaceful coexistence with neighboring countries.
The Governor listed the strides recorded by his administration for the enhancement of food sufficiency to include investment in a special fertilizer blend that would be compliant to the soil and crops for improved yield.
He disclosed that many Akwa Ibom youths have been sent on training in various fields of agriculture and that the state has entered into partnership with a U.S-based firm for the provision of sweet corn and tomatoes seedlings to replace the variety that is available in the country saying the state has made considerable investment in Cocoa cultivation and that in a short while Akwa Ibom would become one of the largest producers of cocoa in the country.
Earlier the Commandant, National Defence College, Rear Admiral Samuel Alade said the Course 25 Team of the College are on a study tour on the role of states towards the achievement of food security in the country.
Rear Admiral Alade said the theme of the study “Enhancing Food Security for National Development” is to enable the participants research on the methods used by the states to achieve the set objective and to proffer solution at the end of the visit.
The Commandant lauded the industrialization policy of the present administration and its keen investment in the agricultural sector and expressed optimism that Akwa Ibom would be able to achieve reasonable success in agricultural development.
Rear Admiral Samuel Alade expressed appreciation to the Governor for the warm reception accorded his team.