Uwem Umoh, Managing Director, UM-MICO, has expressed confidence in the Federal Government’s ability to move the agriculture sector beyond food sufficiency to becoming a huge foreign exchange earner.
Umoh, an expert in fabrication of equipment for processing agricultural produce, told the Newsmen in Port Harcourt that the initiative would go a long way to help farmers to grow.
“Thanks to this administration, most youths have now chosen to make reasonable livelihoods from the huge business opportunities in the agriculture value chain which is now positively impacting on local agriculture equipment fabrication business.
“In the past our youths were carried away by cars and money gifts in the guise of empowerment from politicians, these gifts were usually accompanied by short-lived appreciation as they were not profitably utilised.
“Since everything in our country is tied to politics of godfatherism, little or no attention was given to agriculture as funds allocated to the sector were largely being diverted to benefit only the portfolio farmers among the political class.
“Today, the economic diversification of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is real, we in the local agriculture equipment production sector can attest to it.
“For us, our processing machines are affordable, easy to use and to maintain, above all our machines are standardised and makes produce readily acceptable for export,’’ he said.
Umoh explained that with the support from the Federal Government for cooperative farmer groups in the region, his company had been distributing equipment to farmers in Akwa/Ibom, Cross River, Imo and even Abia.
On his business challenges, the equipment fabricator said poor electricity was hampering growth in the sector.
“Our major challenge as equipment fabricators is electricity, we really don’t maximise profits in this business since we run our own diesel engines on daily bases.
“Almost 60-70 per cent profit realisation goes back to fueling and engine maintenance,’’ he said.
Umoh pleaded with the Federal Government to, as matter of concern, focus on electricity so as to actualise relative growth in the agriculture sector.