To foster a technologically driven, food production and business-oriented agricultural revolution in the state for the fulfillment of the goals of the ARISE Agenda blueprint of the administration, the Akwa Ibom State Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a Benin Republic-based agriculture firm, Songhai Farms Initiatives Nigeria.
The Governor of the state, Umo Eno who spoke during a brief meeting at the Government House, Uyo, described the Songhai agricultural model as impressive and stated that he learned about it during his electioneering campaign days, maintaining that the MoU is a long-term pact between the state government and Songhai Farm for the replication of a model farm in Akwa Ibom.
He commended the Songhai delegation for coming to the state and assured the company that the model was achievable in the state in view of the state government’s disposition towards agricultural production using the A.R.I.S.E. Agenda blueprint.
He was emphatic on his expectations from the agro-based investment, saying that the company will excel in food production, tourism, youth development and job creation.
Speaking from the backdrop of his entrepreneurial disposition, Governor Eno pointedly told the team that there will need to be a more careful study of the business plan to ascertain its turnover possibilities within a reasonable period, stressing that he is spending the State’s funds judiciously by investing in lucrative ventures as he is in office to hold brief for the people.
“I am an entrepreneur. I don’t go into businesses that I don’t understand the bottom line. What we want is what you have captured here. Be our development partner. Develop our youths, train them and use them.
“The things they can do, let them do it. Transfer the technology and let’s see it in the next one year and then we can upscale.
“I am holding this position in trust for the Akwa Ibom people. And every day, honestly, if I put one naira into anything, the question that crosses my mind is if this was your money, would you spend it like this? And once that crosses my mind, it becomes a burden”, he explained.
He assured of the availability of land in the state to kick start the project on a small and medium scale and stressed the need for a technology transfer plan as a condition for expanding to enable young Akwa Ibomites to run the model profitably with ease and pleasure within his first term in office.
“We have a four-year tenure. So by the third year, I should begin to wind down this administration by the grace of God. I should have a clear path that as an investor, I am beginning to get back the money. I want to be able to savour the benefits of this project in the life of this administration.
“At that time I must have prepared a group of young people that are also prepared to sustain this so we can upscale easily. These are the things I am looking at as the benefits of this model that we want to create”, he stated.
Earlier, the leader of the team Prof. Godfrey Nzamujo who is the founder of the Agropreneur company, Songhai Farm Initiatives Nigeria, informed the State delegation that the company is a project of a new African society that has gradually translated into a movement.
He said the company has a need for human resources to enable it to replicate a model of its farm in the State, stressing that the people must be technologically driven, focused and hard-working to keep up with the pace of work in the farm and passionately appealed to the State government to provide large farmland for the agricultural venture.
Prof. Nzamujo commended the vision of the State administration in partnering with Songhai Farm Initiatives for agricultural investment, assuring that the company will create a paradigm shift in agricultural production in the State and soliciting a cordial investment partnership with the state administration.
Highpoint of the meeting was the sealing of the agreement between Shanghai Farm Initiatives Nigeria and the Akwa Ibom State government with the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Offiong Offor representing the State government while Prof. Godfrey Nzamujo signed for the company.