The Nigerian Government says plans have reached the advanced stage to adopt the Songhai model for the integrated farming system in parts of Akwa Ibom State.
The Managing Director of Cross River Basin Development Authority, CRBDA, Bassey Nkposong told the people of Ona Local Government Area that the farming system would be implemented in partnership with communities across the State.
Nkposong explained that the policies and programmes of authority were geared towards revitalizing agriculture as the base for national development.
“Nigeria’s dependence on oil has sapped the spirit of enterprise and hard work amongst the people. It is obvious that agriculture remains the globally accepted practice to grow the economy”.
“As such, we intend to commence the integrated farming system. We are adopting the Songhai model to drive the system and cover the entire remaining land we have. It is important to note that this system would only be achieved with the collaboration of our host communities”, he said.
The Managing Director disclosed that the authority would begin the cultivation of the remaining 200 hectares of land, given to the organization by various communities in Akwa Ibom State.
According to Nkposong, the integrated farming system, modeled after Songhai, would create jobs for unemployed persons in the agriculture value chain.
He said “when the farming system becomes fully operational, more than One thousand farming families from Akwa Ibom will be employed. What this means is that the economy of the families will improve. That is our concern”.
A traditionalist and custodian of the Ona people, Raymond Inyang described the initiative as laudable, noting that the people were eager to participate in the farming system.
Inyang also urged the Nigerian Government to largely include women and youths in the proposed integrated farming project.