The Akwa Ibom government has expressed its readiness to lease out government lands to farmers in the state to assist them to expand their agribusinesses.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Glory Edet, stated this in Uyo on Tuesday while declaring open a training programme for farmers on smart farming and, precision and sustainable agriculture.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the training was organised by the ministry, in collaboration with Agribusiness Enterprise Development Programme (AEDP).
Edet said that the vision of the Gov. Udom Emmanuel-led administration was to eliminate hunger in the state through improved agriculture that would drive income growth.
“Farmers’ training essentially contributes to human resource development in agriculture and as well address the basic needs of farmers.
“The state government’s policy thrust is on growing the agricultural sector through various commodity value chains to generate employment opportunities. Hence, the focus on the development of agricultural value chain through capacity building.
“AEDP is to ensure adequate training of farmers for increased productivity as well as the establishment of Staple Crop Processing Zones (SCPZs) in the state,’’ she said.
According to her, the training will enable farmers and agribusiness owners to develop ideas and gather relevant information about agribusiness enterprises so as to determine the real market demands for their agricultural produce.
The commissioner urged participants to make maximum use of the training by paying attention to the resource persons and adoption of the innovations, technologies and techniques that they would be exposed to.
Earlier in his remarks, the Programme Director, AEDP, Mr Ekanikpong Ben, said that the agency was providing capacity building in agriculture through business and technical training.
He said that the agency had also introduced farmers to various technologies and innovations in agriculture in order to meet the increase in demand for food.
“The programme’s mission is to create jobs, increase competitiveness as well as promote sustainable and inclusive growth through acceleration of agribusiness training programmes, with technological integration for the transformation of the agric sector in the state and in Nigeria generally,” he said.
The programme director listed the areas of coverage during the programme to include improved crop, livestock and fish production and management as well as agribusiness development and technology application in agriculture, amongst others.
One of the participants, Miss Ima Inyang, from Ibiono Ibom Local Government area, who is into flour production, expressed optimism that the training would help her expand her business.