The chairman of Ibiono Ibom Local Government Council has received a pat on the back for supporting Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) in the area in the production of Ibom Golden Rice for public exhibition in the state.
Commissioner for agriculture and women affairs, Dr Glory Edet, who applauded the council chairman, Mr EkomAbasi Akpan, at the public presentation of Ibom Golden Rice, which took place at the Idongesit Nkanga Secretariat Complex, Uyo, said the cultivation and packaging of Ibom Golden Rice could not have been possible but for the assistance of the chairman.
Edet, flanked by the permanent secretary in the ministry, Dr John Markson and the chairman, House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources in the State House of Assembly, Mr Asuquo Nanah, noted that the installation of 1.5 metric tonnes of rice processing mill in Ikot Esen by the Federal Government could not have been put to optimal use by rice farmers but for the cooperation of the council chairman.
While urging council chairmen in the state to borrow a leaf from their Ibiono Ibom counterpart by cooperating with the leadership and membership of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in their council areas in the cultivation of any crop that they have comparative advantage, the commissioner assured that her ministry was willing to cooperate with council chairmen in ensuring the availability of sufficient food in the state.
She noted with delight that the clearing of large hectares of land by her ministry in Ibiono Ibom, Uruan, Ini and other local government areas in the state has made it possible for the emergence of Ibom Golden Rice through the combined efforts of RIFAN members in Ibiono Ibom and the assistance of their council chairman.
She declared the willingness of her Ministry to cooperate with any local government chairman and RIFAN members in the production of both upland and low land rice for food to be sufficient in the state.
Edet remarked that since no man or woman could survive without food, all indigenes of Akwa Ibom should be involved in the cultivation of crops on any available land as their contributions to food sufficiency in the state.
The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, John Markson, while welcoming guests, recalled that it was Gov Udom Emmanuel who decided in 2018 and 2019 to invest in the cultivation of rice through land clearing that gave birth to the unveiling of the Ibom Golden rice in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom capital.
Markson noted with satisfaction the commitment of rice farmers in Ibiono Ibom and the support of the council chairman towards the realization of Ibom Golden Rice.
He expressed the hope that the production of Ibom Golden Rice would encourage other chairmen of councils in the state to close ranks with their chapter leadership and membership of AFAN in the commercial cultivation of any crop that thrives well in their land for food to be in abundance in the state.
The chairman of Ibiono Ibom Local Government Council, Mr EkomAbasi Akpan, described the day as Ibiono Ibom Day in the state through the production of Ibom Golden Rice with the cooperation of RIFAN.
Akpan said it was the first time in the history of Akwa Ibom that a council chairman was practically involved in the commercial cultivation of rice in partnership with RIFAN.
He said that the public presentation of Ibom Golden Rice was to prove to the entire Akwa Ibom that farming is of great importance to human existence.
Akpan explained that the cultivation of 2,500 hectares of land with rice by farmers in Ibiono Ibom was in compliance with Governor Emmanuel's Dakkada philosophy, pledging his council's resolve to cooperate with the present administration for the realization of food sufficiency in the state.
The state chairman of AFAN, Prince Bassey Inwang, expressed appreciation to the chairman of Ibiono Ibom for cooperating with RIFAN members in the cultivation of rice in commercial quantity for public consumption and urged other council chairmen to emulate the kind gesture for the best to be achieved in the state.