By Ekemini James
In a remarkable endeavour to harness the untapped potential of agriculture, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Pastor Umo Eno, has spearheaded the transformation of the agricultural sector of the State by embarking on several initiatives to stimulate and reposition agriculture as the mainstay of the state’s economy.
One such initiative is the flag-off of the Ibom Model Farm in Ikot Edibon, Nsit Ubium Local Government Area, which spans an impressive 50,000 hectares. It is an integrated and organic farm that is set to revolutionize the state’s agricultural sector by incorporating crop production, animal husbandry, aquaculture, and agro-processing. This holistic approach will not only ensure food security but also generate employment, income and empowerment opportunities for the people of Akwa Ibom State.
The forward-thinking project which comes in fulfilment of the Governor’s campaign promise to the people of Akwa Ibom State, aligns with the agricultural revolution pillar of the ARISE Agenda, which seeks to improve the livelihoods of its people by ensuring food security, creating jobs, and boosting the economy of the state.
Inspired by the renowned Songhai Farm Technology in Porto-Novo, Benin Republic, which combines crop production, animal husbandry, aquaculture and agro-processing, the Ibom Model Farm encompasses an extensive range of facilities designed to drive productivity, profitability and social welfare.
This project has various sections, such as tomatoes, cucumber, yam, cabbage, carrot, pawpaw, pineapple, orange, lettuce, pepper, cassava, horticulture, juice processing, bakery, brooding, broiler pen, piggery pen complex, moringa, concrete fish pond, feed mill, abattoir, store, restaurant, water reservoir, two-bedroom bungalow, residence, classroom, male dormitory, female dormitory, canteen, car park, hotel, conference hall, zoo, solar panel, and administrative block.
Besides providing jobs for about 1,000 AkwaIbomites, excluding the value chain, the Model Farm will also serve as a tourism destination and a business hub for the state. With a hotel, a conference hall, a zoo, and other recreational facilities that will attract visitors and investors from within and outside the state, the project is poised to transform the economic fortunes of Akwa Ibom and contribute to its overall development and prosperity.
As part of his visionary strategy of recognising the pivotal role of the younger generation in driving economic growth, the Governor, prior to the flag off of the Model Farm had fervently championed this unfolding agricultural renaissance by sponsoring 31 youths to undergo intensive training in order to gain requisite and professional knowledge in the field of agriculture.
Armed with the newfound knowledge and expertise, these individuals, upon completion of their training, will serve as inspiring pioneers, spearheading the replication of this initiative within Akwa Ibom State. By providing comprehensive mentorship and opportunities for the youth to become agribusiness owners, Governor Umo Eno is creating an ecosystem conducive to long-term success and growth.
Truth is, the Ibom Model Farm will serve as a catalyst for economic diversification by fostering tourism and attracting potential investors, both domestically and internationally. This, coupled with the farm’s ability to produce high-quality and competitive agricultural products that meet global standards, will position Akwa Ibom State as a key player in the international market.
Remarkably, Governor Eno’s commitment to professional management, akin to the success story of Ibom Air, ensures that the Ibom Model Farm operates independently, fostering an environment conducive to sustainable growth.
Pioneering the state’s shift from overdependence on oil revenue towards a diverse and thriving agricultural sector, this visionary initiative promises to revolutionize both the state’s economy and the livelihoods of its people. With a comprehensive approach and an array of integrated facilities, the Ibom Model Farm showcases Governor Eno’s commitment to fostering sustainable development and empowering the people of Akwa Ibom State.