The Plateau State Government says, steps are being taken to encourage farming and address wastage of agricultural produce in the plateau.
Governor of the state, Mr. Caleb Mutfwang during a courtesy call by the Federal Airports Authority, FAAN, Aviacargo Roadmap Committee in his office said, most of these agro products being wasted can be packaged fresh and exported to other parts of the country and outside to earn revenue for the farmers, the state, stimulate economic activities and minimize youth restiveness.
The Plateau state Governor represented during the visit of the aviacargo committee by his deputy, Mrs. Josphine Piyo said, fertilizers and tractors would be procured, provided and sold at subsidized rates to farmers to encourage more produce.
According to him, the state was also eager to revive the Yakubu Gowon Airport, Jos as a cargo hub where all agro produce from the plateau and other surrounding states can be exported through the airport.
Mr. Mutfwang. noted that, before they came onboard, flight operations into plateau was zero but with the recent arrangement to have one, the government was committed to attract investors to the state to build warehouses, cold chain facilities for perishables to promote exports of agro products.
“If our airport is upgraded to an int status especially in cargo i bet, the economic activities in the plateau would boom, I am telling you that we are eagerly waiting for this”.
He assured that the government would join hands with FAAN to expand the width of the Jos airport runway which currently cannot accommodate bigger aircraft to achieve cargo exports.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the General Manager, Business Development, FAAN, Mr. Hycienth Ngwu while emphasizing that, a well developed airport is a subset of state economies and having a workable partnership with the government to enhance the Jos airport, it would create wealth and increase the per capita income of the citizens and the GDP of the state.
“Plateau in fact has the potential of exporting massive agricultural produce. Agricultural produce is perishable and the easiest way to get them transported out of the shores of this country where they command high revenue in terms of foreign exchange is through air transportation”.
Coordinator of the Aviacargo Roadmap Committee, Ambassador, Ikechi Uko said, they were on a fact finding mission to know what went wrong and that the plateau known as the biggest agro export of Nigeria had lost that position.
He said, without getting answers to these questions, it would be difficult in addressing the problems.
“If we do not find out what is wrong and lead to the decline, we might not be able to solve the problem of a larger nation that wasn’t doing a lot of export. is it you are no more producing, or the airport is no more functional or no carriers are not willing to come, we want to find out where the problem is, is it production, it is processing, is it infrastructure, it is the people?”.
Highlight of the visit was a meeting with stakeholders in the cargo value chain to also feel their pulse on the matter.