DON Urges AKSG To Engage Technical Partners In Processing Agric Produce

The Akwa Ibom Government has been reminded of the need to engage the services of technical partners in the processing of agricultural produce in the state for consumption and possible export.
The dean, Faculty of Education in the Akwa Ibom State University (AKSU), Dr Patrick Ukoh, who made the call while speaking with our Agric editor, said mango, pear, okro, coconut, afang, atama, plantain, banana, cocoyam, among others, should be processed for consumption and for export.
Ukoh said the establishment of processing mills for our numerous agricultural produce would help to boost the state’s economy and create job opportunities for teeming unemployed youths in the state.
Processing mills, he said, would also encourage farmers to show more commitment in agricultural activities for a better future and appreciated Gov Udom Emmanuel for his interest in the processing of cassava in the state.
He decried a situation whereby people in the 21st century are still eating fruits and other numerous agricultural produce in the same traditional method we came to meet.
Ukoh stressed that efforts should be geared towards processing and preserving all our perishable agricultural produce to last long and still maintain the value for consumption.
Mango fruit and other agricultural produce, he said, should not only be made available to the Nigerian public on seasonal basis but should be processed and preserved to last beyond the next season with the application of well researched and scientific technologies.
His words: “We need to process our mangoes, pear fruits, okro, atama, afang, coconuts and extend their lifespans. We can even export them if we have enough for consumption.”
He emphasized the need for the available silos in the state to be made to function optimally and possibly establish one in each of the 10 federal constituencies for the storage of our agricultural produce for future usage.
He said the construction of silos on the basis of federal constituencies would allow for access to the facilities for storage of perishable agricultural produce with the help of off-takers.
Ukoh also emphasized the need for constant and steady power supply to encourage the processing of agricultural produce, explaining that without electricity, processing facilities would not function properly.
He called for strategic planning on the part of our leaders in the agricultural sector of the nation’s economy for the best to be achieved.
Ukoh specifically condemned in totality the ongoing crisis and killings of innocent farmers by Fulani herdsmen in different part of the country in this 21st century, noting that in civilized countries of the world cattle are kept and bred in ranches.
He described as traditional the method of cattle rearing by herdsmen on people’s farmlands thereby causing mayhem in the society, noting with dismay that some of the fatal accidents on Nigerian highways were caused by the herdsmen in the process of crossing the roads with their cattle.
He advocated a law not only to regulate the operations of the herdsmen but to restrict their operations to cattle ranches as a way of proffering lasting solutions to the on-going senseless killings and maiming of innocent farmers in the country.


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