By Patrick Obia
Stakeholders have enjoined Cross Riverians to save the future from hunger by embracing Agriculture.
This was the take home message from keynote speakers and good will messages in a one-day Agro Industrialization Summit held at Transcorp Hotel, Calabar, with the theme: “Promoting Agricultural Value Chain To Boost Economic Development, Food Sufficiency And Curb Youth Restiveness”.
In a brief address, the Special Guest of Honor, Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, represented by his Deputy, Prof. Ivara Esu thanked the organizer of the summit, saying it came at the right time.
Governor Ayade encouraged young Cross Riverians to wake up to initiatives like this adding that, both men and women should take agriculture in the State as hobby so as to feed the industries established; expressing optimism of seeing multimillionaires who will take up agriculture as business.
In a welcome speech, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Ntufam Okon Owuna, inferred that, the COVID-19 pandemic has taught everyone a lesson and there is need to go back to agriculture.
Presenting his keynote address, Ambassador Soni Abang, represented by Mr. Dominic Oluko, who said youth restiveness is when youths engage in an unwholesome and deviance behaviors not in tandem with the society. He declared that, “youthful age has an expiring stage, we need to return to the soil”.
Ambassador Soni, called on various higher institutions to incorporate agricultural development into their syllables.
Also speaking, the Vice Chancellor of University of Calabar, Prof. Florence Obi, represented by Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Prof. Walter Binang echoed the words of Ambassador Soni Abang, stressing that apart from the ICT sector that can employ a whole lot of people, agriculture has the capacity to employ even more hence, there is need to venture into agric.
Other keynote speaker, was Mrs. Renda Udan, the CEO of Fearless Cup, Malaysia, who disclosed that they are on a mission in Cross River and Nigeria to empower Cross Riverians in agricultural programs.
She assert that, their aim of leaving Malaysia down to Cross River is not to give “fish rather, to teach how to fish and reduce hunger”.
In an interview, the convener of the summit, Precious Jade Besong said her passion in enterprising young people is what drove her to such program noting that, if the youths are engaged there will be low rate of crime in the society.
She further posited that, if all hands are on deck in agriculture business, Cross River State will not only feed itself but also feed Africa and the world at large.
Dignitaries who graced the occasion include: the CEO of Green Money Initiatives, Ambassador Nkoyo Toyo represented by Dr. Martina Ubi; Head of Service of Cross River State, Barr. Geraldine Akpet-Ekanem, represented by Mr. Timothy Ogbang Akwaji; the Vice Chancellor, University of Cross River State, Prof. Augustine Angba; Special Assistant to Governor Ben Ayade on Research Institute, Hon. Anthony Bassey.
Others includes representatives of Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture, NIRSAL, National Youth Council of Nigeria, Students Union Government President of UNICAL, Ogar James Ogar amongst others.
High point of the summit were plenary section and group photographs.
See pictures below.
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