Societies of the world irrespective of technological, social, and political advancement, care about the daily survival of people, which in many regards cannot be ignored. In survival, the place of food as a basic need of man is uncontestable. This explains why economies spend resources to improve the means of food production, which principally revolves around farming. What is the case in Akwa Ibom State? A peep at the Ibom Community Farm speaks volumes.
As observed, the industrialization of food production is one of the greatest achievements of modern history and it has created a situation where many people rarely need to think twice about how nutrients move from the group all the way into the human body. Global food systems are incredibly efficient at moving goods from every corner of the world to our dining tables, which is nothing short of amazing. But are there not two sides to every coin? As has been exposed by recent events, there may be unforeseen negative consequences to a globalized food industry that is optimized to deliver just the right amount of food at just the right time.
This is the reason why Governor Udom Emmanuel has focused on diversifying the economy of Akwa Ibom State while driving the State towards self-reliance and less dependence on food importation. The idea is to achieve a food production index high enough to first satisfy the local economy, and then to export. This pursuit has been on, as part of the governor’s Completion Agenda which seeks to put our endowment in agriculture to proper economic benefits.
To further pursue more agricultural initiatives in line with his economic development vision, Governor Emmanuel recently, through the Directorate of Marketing and Brand Management, flagged off the MEGP Community Farm (a product of the Ibom community farms project). This latest effort is an addition to the human capital development scheme of the government, My Entrepreneurship Goals Project (MEGP).
In the words of Governor Udom Emmanuel, in his oration during the 31st anniversary of the creation of Akwa Ibom State, “We are diversifying our economy and placing emphasis on agriculture. We are producing food to feed our people through our investments in agriculture”. This time, he has taken a fitting step further by providing land, water, security, input supply, market linkage, agro-business training, and financial inclusion.
The Ibom Community Farm in its inception has more than 50 farmers benefiting, with prospects for more beneficiaries. With 1,000 Square Meter farm size per beneficiary, this program is introduced to address concerns in some areas of the basic needs of farmers, with a clear intention to boost food production and enhance a self-sufficient agro-economy in the state.
One striking significance to note is the possibility for opportunities for young people in the Ibom Community Farm project. This shall drive youth involvement in agro-business and showcase the resourcefulness of Akwa Ibom youth. Somehow, it will integrate youth into the stakeholdership of the state’s economy, and in the long run, reduce unproductive ventures among young people.
In summarily, the Ibom Community Farm project shall answer the question of food sufficiency and self-sufficiency across the state, given the prospect of an extension to all local government areas, still in pursuit of the completion agenda of the governor. As it unfolds, benefits will abound and Akwa Ibom State will not remain the same in the area of food production.