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HomeNewsENO AKPAN LEADS CAMPAIGN TO END RICE SCARCITY IN A'IBOM

ENO AKPAN LEADS CAMPAIGN TO END RICE SCARCITY IN A’IBOM


… Distributes Upland Rice Seeds To Over 300 Farmers

Ukpong Ukpong

Towards reversing incessant hike in price of rice in Akwa Ibom State, a former commissioner for agriculture, Obong Eno Akpan, has recently launched a campaign to boost production and end hunger.

Speaking while distributing upland rice seeds to over 300 farmers at a training program for rice farmers in Uyo, Akpan, now the chairman, board of trustees, Large-scale Farmers’ Development Association, Akwa Ibom (LSFDA), stated that considering the current reality, government needs the support of large-scale farmers to feed citizens.

He revealed that his association has come up with an initiative to support government sustain food security by ensuring that every household is able to plant rice.

According to him, the association have identified upland rice as specially fit for both subsistence and large-scale cultivation because it can be planted like any other crop unlike ‘swamp rice’ which must essentially be planted in muddy soil.

“Upland rice can be planted in backyard gardens and farmlands like other crops. Hence, we can survive these hard times relying on our people, resources and skills to produce rice for ourselves”, he noted with optimism.

Earlier, the Chairman of LSFDA, Dr. Asikpo Essien Ibok, traced the formation of the association to 2008, when Akpan was commissioner for agriculture, saying he was instrumental to it’s birth.

Ibok, commended government efforts toward food sufficiency so far, but warned that current reality demands more to be done.

“I’ve never seen food so scarce as it is today. We can reverse this by producing more. We can produce more through the support of government.

“Rice is a staple food but it is becoming unaffordable hence the need for the training to increase rice production among households rather than depending on importation.”

Also speaking, Prof. Trenchard Ibia, one time commissioner for agriculture in the State, commended the rice initiative by LSFDA, saying it should be sustained and scaled up to ensure availability and subsequent exportation.

“Interestingly, agriculture stands out as the flagship of the ARISE agenda as such this revolution should be seen in tonnage to eat and export.

“Farmers must be able to produce and earn from their investment, but high cost of input is a challenge to farmers wishing to produce more”, he noted and called on government to support farmers with input and extension services.

In her goodwill message, Prof. Edna Akpan, Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Akwa Ibom State University, lauded the initiative saying it is in line with AKSU’s drive towards food sufficiency in the State.

Akpan, famously called ‘mma okpo iwa’ for introducing improved cassava varieties to the State while working with International Institute of Agriculture, IITA, disclosed that her Faculty in partnership with Thailand is setting up 500 hectares of land for research on rice production in the State.

She pointed out that efforts should be made to provide micro processing units as these will encourage households to invest in rice production.

“We must identify value chain in rice production and earn from there.

“Also, we should take advantage of the ban on bulk purchase of grains from the North to increase production of our local rice.” She enthused.

The training program witnessed a large turnout of farmers and would-be farmers across the State, who were lectured on various related topics including ‘upland rice production’, ‘the role of rice in Nigeria Agriculture’, ‘insight on upland rice production in Akwa Ibom State’ and others.

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