A non-profit organization in Akwa Ibom State, Emerging Leaders, has begun the cultivation of 20 hectares of demonstration farm in Nsit Ubium Local Government Area.
The group, made up of young persons from different walks of life across the state, is poised to make a difference in all sectors.
Addressing the gathering at Ikot Ntong in Nsit Ubium, the Head, Emerging Leaders, Rehoboth Umo Eno said the youths are ready to fend for themselves instead of waiting for handouts from government.
“This is first of its kind for us to have a large farm project in one local government. We are embarking on this journey because we feel and believe the youth have a voice and the present administration is all about youths.
“As we start this, we will continue even after eight years,” He said.
Also speaking, the National Coordinator of the group, Engr Bobby Bassey described Emerging Leaders as collection of young people determined to add value to the society.
He added that the primary aim is to return the youth to the farm by following Mohanda Gandhi’s model.
“By kick-starting this project, we have matched our words with action. Through this project, 250 youths will be employed for cultivation.
“As Emerging Leaders seeks to capture people from other local government areas, we will also extend this project to other areas.
” We are non-partisan group. Our plan for sustainability is to apply hectare-by-hectare model to ensure everyone is integrated into the farming process.”
Giving insight into the project, the leader of Agric Cluster, Mr. Ukpong Ukpong, said the choice of agriculture as first project of the group was in line with the ARISE Agenda of the present administration.
He disclosed that the 20- hectare land used as demonstration farm is owned by the Cross River Basin Authority, leased out for a period of 20 years.
According to him, “This is self-help project and we are projecting 10 hectares per local government. What we learn here will be replicated in other local government areas.
” We will revamp all the moribund miles, create wealth, employment and contribute to the economy of the state.”
Earlier in his goodwill message, the Managing Director of Akwa Savings and Loans Limited, Mr. Ime Okon appreciated the visioner of the project for their foresight, adding that with the Emerging Leaders, there will be agricultural revolution in the state.
“I am impressed because every big project starts with a step. We will make our contributions on how value can be added. As bank, we shall stand by you,” The MD said.
Desmond Ushie, from Development Finance Office CBN, said he was pleased to associate with the Emerging Leaders, noting that advent of oil and gas affected people’s interest in agriculture .
He assured that they would work round to come out with guidelines that will enable Emerging Leaders access finance from CBN.
High point of the event was planting of cassava.