In Akwa Ibom State, Agriculture is set to compete with oil for the highest revenue contributor to the state treasury.
But when was the last time you heard someone said “I want to be a farmer” I bet every young, educated person will likely want to be a doctor, a lawyer, a banker, etc. and majority of them who are into farming don’t become farmers by choices but because of lack of white collars job, and this is a real problem.
Recently, the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel appointed a popular Nollywood actor/director, Moses Armstrong as special assistant on Agriculture and he was more than happy to speak with AbelAbel.com
He explained how his background in Nollywood will help him drive the Agriculture programmes of the Udom Emmanuel administration.
“I have a fan base already and that is how I will get close to the grass root and be able to talk to farmers in the language they understand, you know, farming has its own language, you don’t speak English language to farmers, you speak the language they understand” says Moses Armstrong from his base in Akwa Ibom state.
“It is a divine call to service, people are beginning to call me, our Nollywood star come to our area we have a cocoa plantation, come to our area we have a plantain plantation, I am so happy that God has given his excellency the Governor this intuition to appoint me as Special assistant on Agriculture” He added.
The aim of the governor in Agriculture, he says was to develop and implement “an agripreneurship model” that will make Akwa Ibom state popular on the international scene in agriculture, provide enough food for all, create jobs and help in the struggle to reduce the effect of global warming. This model according to him was designed to encourage youth involvement in Agriculture, empower the women and provide/support the activities of farming in the state.
As a young undergraduate, Moses Armstrong was interested in small scale solution to big problems like poverty and hunger and this lead him to start a yoghurt business. “I started a yoghurt business with just twenty thousand naira, was it a success? Yes, because my targets were met”
In terms of perception of farmers in Africa, Moses Armstrong noted that farmers in Africa are relegated to the background and are being regarded as very poor people but the Agripreneurship model champion by the Government of Akwa Ibom will make farmers centre of attraction in the society.
“For us In Africa, farmers are mainly the duty of the Old people, we see farmers as very poor people, but we are going to change that” he showered praises on Governor Udom Emmanuel for his steadfastness and dedication to the growth and development of the state. According to him, the Governor is God fearing, dedicated and a tactical administrator who loves Akwa Ibom state so much.
In view of the global oil downturn which has exposed the vulnerability of Nigeria to external economic shock, Moses Armstrong noted that Agriculture will soon compete favourably with oil. “I want to say that the current fall in oil price has open up our Economic intuition in Africa, for me, I have always been clamouring for a situation where we can diversify our economy, because agriculture is our only way out of our current economic woes and in the nearest future agriculture will compete favourably with oil”
Finally, he noted that the Governor has brought in a team of international experts to help develop the Agriculture sector of the state, accordingly the team has access the over 15,000 hectare of rice plantation, cocoa plantation and others. The prospects of this is obvious, to build a successful agribusiness that will not only provide food for Nigerians but Jobs and wealth for entrepreneurs.