About N12 billion has been approved by the Akwa Ibom Government for Accelerated Livestock and Fish Production Programme.
Prof. Etok Ekanem, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Uyo, ahead of the ministryâ€™s second Agricultural Summit slated for Feb. 9, that the money would be spent over a three_year period.
â€œThe state is embarking on this area of agriculture because over the years little attention has been paid to livestock and fish production sub_sectors,â€ he said.
He explained that about 84 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contribution from agriculture came from crop production, adding that available statistics indicated 10 per cent came from livestock, four per cent from fisheries and one per cent from forestry.
Ekanem said â€œthe major component of this programme in the area of fisheries will be to construct 10 Fish Farm Estates, with one in each federal constituency of Akwa Ibom.â€
He added that the fisheries programmes were boosted by federal governmentâ€™s allocation of one of itsÂ proposedÂ eight fish farm estates toÂ be sited in Akwa Ibom.
He said that a site had been selected for the project at Etim Ekpo Local Government Area.He addedÂ that three hatcheries would be built in each of the three senatorial districts of the state to produce about 40,000 day_old chicks weekly.
The commissioner said the state_owned poultry hatchery at Use_Offot was producing only 3,000 day_old chicks weekly, stressing that â€œthe figure is a far cry from the Akwa Ibom livestock farmersâ€™ weekly need of more than 40,000 day_old chicks per week.
He said a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) had been signed between the Akwa Ibom Government and Agritech Company of Vietnam for large scale commercial rice production.
â€œThe company is bringing in all the funds, 100 per cent, and all it wants us to do is provide a minimum of 10,000 hectres of land and that is available.â€œThe project has the capacity to employ 4,000 Akwa Ibom people.
â€œAlready, 210 persons have been employed as take_off staff for the rice project.â€