Following the trend of importation of an estimated 80 percent of foods consumed in Akwa Ibom State, a farmers group, Uyo Progressive Farmers Union has declared its commitment to ensuring that the state produces sufficient food for its citizens.
The president of the group, Elder Uduak Jacob made this known at an enlarged meeting of the union held in Uyo and attended by coordinators and women leaders from all the local government areas in the state and many others.
Elder Uduak stated that the aim of the group is to mobilise people, young and old, across the state to go into farming in order to change Akwa Ibom food story by ensuring sufficiency for local consumption and exportation in the nearest possible time.
According to him, “we have fertile lands across the state that could yield different types of crops especially cassava, but we still import it. It was very embarrassing to hear that we are importing garri from other states when we can produce better quality of garri here in our state.
“This is what propelled me to move round the state to mobilise farmers, and thank God today, the effort is paying off as Ukanafun LGA, as well as Ini and Ibiono Ibom, has given us 180 hectares of land for farming.”
The union conferred an award of honour on Barr Ekong Umorok for his support and encouragement to farmers in the state and also appointed him as one of its patrons. Barr Umorok is a practicing lawyer of over ten years, legal adviser and company secretary, Universal Energy.
In his response, Barr Umorok appreciated the union for the honour done him and urged them not to relent in the commitment to ensure food sufficiency in the state.
He appreciated God for the enablement to support a very import group in the society as farmers and also commended Obong Nsima Ekere, the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for the opportunity and backup which has made it possible for him to support the group.
He noted that the farmers in Uyo progressive farmers were actually producing but without spread adding that the major reason for the occasion was to draw a road map to enable the farmers produce enough food for the entire state.
He maintained that it was quite appalling to go outside the state to look for garri, starch and ethanol which could be extracted here in the state and therefore, called on well meaning Akwa Ibom people to join hands in ensuring that the story does not remain same for a long time.
Present at the event were the immediate past member representing Ikot Abasi/Eastern Obolo State Constituency, Hon. Abo Uduyok, Former Chairman of Ikot Abasi LGA, Engr. Uko Ekpe, Arch. Ufot, Udoinyang, Hon. Matthias Idiong, and Obong Ime Udosen among many others.