The Government of Akwa Ibom State in its bid to promote food sufficiency, has distributed over 2,000 Goats to livestock farmers in the State.
The distribution which was done at the open field of the Ministry of Agriculture on Thursday, February 18, 2021, had key agricultural stakeholders in the State in attendance.
According to the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Glory Edet, the distribution was in fulfilment of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s avowed promise to ensure the sufficiency of food and consumables cultivated and reared in the State.
Dr. Glory who lauded the State Chief Executive’s ingenuity and commitment to fulfilling his promise, described Governor Emmanuel’s disposition towards agriculture as positive and worthy of emulation.
“Our Governor’s passion for agriculture stems from his consciousness that it is only through agriculture that poverty and unemployment can be reduced”, she said. She added that “it is only in Akwa Ibom State that farmers are given inputs, seedlings and livestock free of charge”.
She noted that the African Dwarf Goats presented to the farmers are the best in terms of taste and quality, but lamented that they were almost going into extinction at the local goods markets.
This she said, was the reason the Ministry embarked on a fact-finding mission to know what could be done to up the supply of locally bred goats in the market.
The farmers responded that “if the government can help them acquire the young goats for reproduction, they would be able to supply more to the market.” “This is the reason we are giving out 1 buck (male) and 2 Does (female) to the goat farmers today to enhance reproduction and multiplication”, Dr Edet explained.
The Commissioner further explained that the presentation done was a symbolic representation of what would be done by the Ministry subsequently.
“We have selected local governments across the three senatorial districts for this first distribution. The few local governments remaining will be captured in the second phase which will be done few weeks from now”, she notified.
While calling on Poultry farmers in the state to be on the alert for their soon-to-come empowerment, the Commissioner strictly warned against the sales or diversion of the goats given for personal use.
” We have gone round to ensure that the recipients of the goats are real farmers. This is to ensure that the project reaches the intended target. Our team will also go round routinely to ensure that the necessary guidelines on breeding are followed strictly”, she said.
Earlier in her remarks, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs. Mary U. Bassey, eulogized the State Governor for assenting to the materialization of the Goat Farmers Empowerment Programme.
While applauding the Commissioner’s sincerity to the course of empowering farmers in the State, she stated that the empowerment of goat farmers was intended at multiplying local breed of goats, reducing capital flights in goat trading and creating employment opportunities for youths and women in the State.
She also advised the goat farmers to utilize the opportunity given them properly and by so doing, promote the course of agriculture in the State.
During the Talk on Goat Farming, the Assistant Director in the Department of Animal Husbandry, Mr, Ema Ebeute taught the farmers on principles of Crossbreeding, setting up the Goat House and Feed/Feeding. He adviced the farmers never to buy Goats meant to be bred at the market but from fellow Goat breeders. This he said, is to avoid casualties, unknown diseases and mortality.
In his goodwill message, the Country Technical Lead for Solidaridad, and International organization, Dr. Sam Ogala extolled the virtues of the Akwa Government.
“For us as an international organization, what we want to see is a transformation in the lives of the rural people and seeing this happening here today shows us this government is very responsible. We will continue as an organization to partner the state government especially the Ministry of Agriculture to see how the sector can be transformed for the good of Akwa Ibom people”, he pledged.
Highpoint of event was the presentation of the goats to the excited livestock farmers as well as the donation of cash to startup the rearing business by the Commissioner for Agriculture.
Among the recipients of the goats were farmers from Ibom Selected Youths for Food Sufficiency, Nka Uto Inwang, National Sheep/Goat Development Association of Nigeria, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, National Women in Agriculture, among others.
Witnessing the event were the Hon. Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Idongesit Etiebet; Chairman of the State Secondary Education Board, Dr. Ekaette Ebong Okon, representative of the Commissioner for Transport, Wife of the Chairman, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, Akwa Ibom State Chapter, Mrs Iniobong; Permanent Secretaries, Directors, traditional women leaders and a host of others.