On discovery that the world was switching gears and advancing past using petroleum exacts to power itself to the harnessing of solar power and electricity in a bid to achieve a paradigm shift where electricity became the new fuel, economists identified that oil was, in turn, losing value and the one thing the world could not do without “food” would become the new oil, hence the advice that Nigeria which is a major exporter of the commodity, should not be solely dependent on oil but diversify into the untapped natural fertile soil to build a strong agricultural sector enough to ensure large-scale exportations which would bring a huge increase to our national coffers.
Akwaibom state under the leadership of Obong Victor Attah, saw it fit not to just fight for onshore offshore dichotomy but to set in place schemes to help boost the agric sector by breeding year in year out young farmers from all local government areas of the state, one of such schemes was the Integrated Farmers Scheme (IFS) a parastetal put under the states agricultural ministry, to oversea, registration, training, empowering with loans, monitoring of progress and recovery of loans through gurantors system. This scheme could boasted of empowering more than 4000 AkwaIbom youth from its first batch of training till its 6 & 7th batch in 2014 which till date was the last batch.
Also the WADEP scheme which was set I place by the first lady of the state during the Sen. Godswill Obot Administration to train and empower women from all local government areas with grants to help boost the states agricultural sector and in that era, the state saw abundance in its agricultural sector and had numerous international bodies and individuals visit the state on agricultural tourism and also saw AkwaIbom win laurels in agric expo’s attended.
That era saw more of young farmers’ cooperative, groups and clubs rather than political support groups as it had opened the youth the possibility of self-sustenance with the sale of their product which were of good quality as also put in place wore measures to make available to them genetically improved inputs and fertilizers and also proper extension services rendered to ensure the eradication of outbreaks.
The advent of the 2015 political tenure saw the relegation of this schemes to the background and the agric sector has been left redundant and offered into the hands unqualified personnel’s who rather than focus in improving what was implemented by past regime aid to chase fool’s gold by implementing trial and error projects without the proper inputs to create a balance and help achieve the dream of an AkwaIbom greater than what the founding fathers envisioned.
Akwa prime hatchery, a wonderful idea as it would curtail expenses and mortality experienced from the purchase of day-old chicks from as far as Ogun state but yet day-old chicks are shipped into the state regularly from as far as the aforementioned state as the prime hatchery showcased in media campaigns are un-operational and inert as are some other Agro applied projects currently projected, hence what we clamor as our new oil, seems to have been lost on discovery.