BusinessDay

Uyo to host 2nd agribusiness round table conference

Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital will play host to the 2nd agribusiness round table conference which will feature the groundbreaking of the centre for Innovative and Sustainable Agriculture (CISA) and a mini food fair to showcase the rich delicacies in the south south zone of the country.

With the conference themed, ‘Thriving in a dwindling economy,’ and to be attended by experts in agribusiness, captains of industries involved in the food value chain and top financial experts and governors of the south south zone, the keynote address is expected to be delivered by Miriam Katagum who is the minister of state for industry, trade and investment.

The conference, which has as its sub- theme, ‘diversification of the Nigerian economy through the development of agribusiness value chain as an alternative to oil and gas,’ with the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele while a university don, Paul Udofot of the University of Uyo will make a presentation on “Strategies for Thriving in a Depressed Economy, the agribusiness perspective.”

Also, a paper on funding agricultural value chain development for enhanced export competitiveness will be delivered by the Managing Director of NIRSAL.

Howard Usen, south south coordinator of Nigeria Agribusiness and Agro Industry Initiative (NAADI) who stated this during a press conference in Uyo, the state capital said the round table would chart a new course for the propagation of agribusiness towards enhanced production and exportation.

“If we develop agriculture, the nation’s economy would be strong, our focus would shift from reliance on oil and gas to developing the agricultural sector,’’ he said.

According to him, “CISA will be the leading centre of innovative solutions in value addition to locally produced goods and indeed serve as a major export hub in the south south, south east and other parts of the region.’’

He said the centre would utilise the untapped potentials of agriculture in the areas where Nigeria’s south south region and environs have comparative advantage such as fish, foods, vegetables, palm oil and cassava whose processing for local consumption and export would generate substantial revenue.

“The centre when operational will provide the latest technology in food processing, preservation and storage while its research works would upgrade scientific knowledge on a variety of agricultural activities both in the region and in the country.’’

He explained that the event would also feature the presentation of the Agribusiness development and enterprise award which he said would be “ decided to the building of sustainable systems in agriculture and development and industry through the recognition of vanguards in the agro sub sector who have pioneered and contributed to the advancement of innovative solution that have enhanced livelihoods in our communities.’’

The event is scheduled for Sunday 11th to Tuesday 13th December in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.

He lauded Governor Udom Emmanuel for the investment in agriculture saying that Akwa Ibom would reap the full brnefits of the huge investment in the sectors in the years ahead.