By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo.
Martha Emmanuel, wife of the Akwa Ibom state governor said the prophecy that a bag of rice may cost N40,000 in Nigeria will not come to be since it is possible for Nigeria to avert such outcome.
Her submission is contrary to prediction by the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri that rice may hit N40,000 a bag before the end of this year.
Mrs. Emmanuel while fielding in questions from journalists at government house Uyo as part of activities to mark one year anniversary of her pet project FYReP, called on Nigerians to rise and embrace farming as a deliberate measure to boost food production.
She said Akwa Ibom state was already progressing to actualizing food sufficiency as it has so far collaborated with investors in agricultural sector to boost rice production in the state
The Governor wife who also identified diversification as panacea for the unwelcome prediction of high cost of living said in addition to diversifying the economy from oil to agriculture, there was also need to diversify crops to achieve sustainable food sufficiency.
“I heard that, do I say prophesy? but we reject that! That kind of prophesy, that a bag of rice will go for N40,000 cannot come to pass. That is why we are trying to diversity. You see what His Excellency, Mr. Udom Emmanuel is trying to do now, investors in agric sector are coming in”.
According to her, Akwa Ibom state has so far, with the assistance of the investors began rice plantation in Ini local government area of the state, even as she has concluded plans to mobilize women to expand their cassava plantations for high and sufficient yields.
“We started in Ini to plant rice, cassava is on the way, I am also planning to roll out a plan for women to plant cassava, very soon that will kick off and that will bring down the cost of food items, even if others may be buying food, we will not buy food in Akwa Ibom state, we will rather be supplying”. She assured
She therefore advised Akwa Ibom people to fully embrace farming, assuring; “our soil is very fertile, but we are not making good use of it”.
The First Lady, who considered ongoing economic recession as wake up call for Nigerians to go back to the basis, said the country thrived better when agriculture was the nation’s major source of income.
“But at the coming of oil, everybody tend to forget where we came from, so we have to go back to the drawing board and see how we can farm again so that the poorest person can still have food on his table. Let us go back to farming and reduce the cost of living so that we will never buy a bag of rice for N40,000 in Jesus name- Amen!”. She advised.
Speaking about FYReP at one year, she reported that many lives, especially those of the less privileged in the state, such as people living with disabilities, women, the elderly and the youths have been positively touched, as many have received succor from her pet project.
To ensure that only the needy benefits from her interventions, Mrs. Emmanuel said the selection process for beneficiaries of her projects has been very transparent as her team is usually mobilized to move into areas recommended by anyone close to government.
Her words “we have achieved a lot by the grace of God. We have touched the lives of women, elderly, youths, people with disabilities, all facets of life. We have been able to rescue so many that have lost hope”.
A bag of rice won’t hit N40,000.00 – Mrs. Emmanuel
By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo.