A’ Ibom Set To Host 2nd S’ South Agric Expo Summit

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As measure put in place to diversify Akwa Ibom State’s economy from crude oil and create other means of income generation, plans have been concluded to host the 2nd South- South Agric Expo summit in Uyo come November 2019.
The summit which is planned to hold in Ibom Hall grounds, Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital is intended to expose real farmers to opportunities that would enable them expand their investment in agriculture.
The 2nd South South Agric Expo, organised by the Nigeria Agribusiness and Agro-Industry Development Initiative (NAADI) in collaboration with the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Agriculture and other private partners is also intended to open doors for farmers and other agro-based dealers to exhibit their produce.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of the Expo in Uyo last Monday, the South-South Zonal Coordinator, Nigeria Agribusiness and Agro-Industry Development Initiative (NAADI), Mr Howard Usen, said a majority of Akwa Ibom people were unaware of the opportunities that abound in investing in agriculture.
Usen said many people in the state had not invested in agriculture because they were uninformed of the money making and tax free loan opportunities in the agricultural sector to key into.
He regretted that previous administrations in the state failed to utilise the opportunities offered by the Bank of Industry in the area of agriculture by refusing to contribute to the counterpart funds available in the sector.
The zonal coordinator further regretted that loan facilities for Agribusiness and Agro-Industry development in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the state was lying dormant as many people were ignorant of the existing facilities for that purpose.
He explained that the summit would expose the people to the opportunities available in agriculture and how to tap from them, among other things.
His words, “With all the wealth we have in the South- South, where are we, our people here do not understand the language of counterpart funding that is why we do not have Bank of Industry here.
“NAADI in Central Bank of Nigeria is a very strategic organisation, just give them a desk officer so that people can access information. It is information that prospers the people, not money. Bring money and distribute to the people, after one year they will be poorer, but when they are liberated mentally, their fortunes are changed forever.
“At the end of the summit, We hope to set a clear path for the development of agribusiness in Akwa Ibom State. We will change the mentality of the people about agriculture, so that people do not see agriculture the way they used to see it.
“There are people who are not farmers but are using herbs to make millions like farm crowding; they are not farmers but they have the intelligence. They set up a system for people to donate money; they do farms for people professionally.
“By the time we finish, you will see that there are a lot of potentials in some of the agric products we have. The palm oil we have does not go out of Nigeria because it contains metals. So if you are producing palm oil and you want to export it, you need a small refinery and that refinery is less than N5 million; that oil that comes out will be pure oil”.