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The Federal Government has resolved to establish a college of agriculture in Abi Local Government Area of Cross River State as a bill to that effect by the lawmaker representing Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Dr Alex Egbona has been initiated.
The bill has already gone through a second reading on the floor of the House.
This is coming barely two years after Egbona’s bill for the establishment of the federal polytechnic which has already been sited in Ugep, Yakurr Local Government Area, and expected to begin academic programmes this October.
Egbona, who spoke on Wednesday said that he was invigorated to sponsor the bill because of the need to take advantage of the potentials of the local government and also give an opportunity to young people from the area and neighbouring states to acquire specialised knowledge in the area of agriculture.
He said: “The proposed College of Agriculture in Abi, when established, will adopt a holistic approach to the development of agricultural education, knowledge skills and the telescopic vision that will accelerate growth, enhance farmers’ income and generate employment for all categories of persons in the country.”
While leading a debate for the second reading of the bill, Egbona said the establishment of the college would address what he describes as the ‘yawning gap’ in the educational backwardness of the people of Cross River State pointing out that since the people of Abi were predominantly farmers, the institution would serve as a training centre for the development of agriculture and agriculturists in the country.
He said the proposed college will enhance the development of agricultural education and knowledge skills that would accelerate growth and enhance farmer’s income as well as generate employment for all categories of persons in the country.
According to him, Nigeria had all it takes to achieve food sufficiency but lamented that there was no trained manpower to galvanize the agricultural sector to its optimal standard, stressing that the new college would create the platform for intensive research in basic agricultural skills that would act as a veritable tool for youth empowerment in the community and its environs.
He said: “The time to go back to the drawing board and invest heavily in agriculture and agricultural institutions is now. We have the human resources to achieve this but what we lack is trained manpower to galvanize the sector to an optimal standard.
“The proposed college would be capable of providing a platform that would impact positively on agriculture through intensive research while teaching the basic agricultural skills that would act as a veritable tool for youth empowerment especially in the catchment area and its environs.”
According to him, with over 80 per cent of the population in Abi engaged in different areas of agriculture, it was necessary to establish the college to promote and enlighten the community and the state on the best way to maximise their potentials.