By Tosin Kolade
Precious Okoye, the current Miss Africa Queen, on Monday pledged to use her platform to advocate for the development of agricultural industrialisation and economic development in the African region.
Okoye said this at a world press briefing and her unveiling as the sixth Miss Africa Queen, organised by the Miss Africa Organisation in Abuja.
She said the need for awareness and implementation of agro-industrialisation across Africa cannot be over-emphasised at a time when the economy had been fluctuating.
According to her, establishing public-private joint initiatives for growth and sustainability of economies, would not only increase the countries’ Gross Domestic Product, but tackle the ongoing problem of unemployment.
Okoye said: “Africa has a large capacity for producing varieties of agricultural products that are highly sought after across the world and with the right natural climate to grow crops effectively.
“Each country has the capacity to be self-sufficient yielding maximum harvest that can feed the African continent and position themselves as a hub for exporting organic produce worldwide.
“With the awareness of climate change globally, the need to re-invent and re-structure the agricultural sector for Africa should be the primary agenda for each country on the continent.
“By identifying sustainable crops for consistent export, each country can establish capacity building training for industrialisation of agric products from farming to exportation which will serve both the in-country and international consumers.”
She noted that the 6th edition of the Miss Africa Pageant was created to change the narrative to agro-industrialisation for Africa and for Africans.
Okoye promised to partner with other African queens to identify and showcase agricultural products that were unique to their countries.
She added that such partnerships would reflect effective growth for wealth creation through the industrialisation of agricultural products in alignment with the sustainable development goals of alleviating poverty and hunger.
Mr Femi Oyelade, Brand Manager, Miss Africa Organisation, said that the pageant had a Pan-African outlook, focusing on building bridges and sharing cultural heritages among countries.
He said awareness was crucial, if Nigeria and other African countries would meet the sustainable development goals and industrialisation vision through agricultural development.
Oyelade said all contestants were trained to become change makers, championing cultural exchanges and uniting families for the overall good of the region.
Mr Thomas Ikpeme, Special Adviser, Events Production and Tourism, Cross River Government, said the sixth edition of the pageant was distinct from other brands through its message and thematic areas.
He said the agro-industrialisation theme for 2023 was paramount as it was in line with efforts of the state government in diversifying the economy and job creation.
Ikpeme said: “Through our industrialisation, we have been able to come up with the rice seed and seedlings, through the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Scheme and Cross River as of today is supplying seedlings to the CBN for rice farmers.
“We have been able to generate huge Internally Generated Revenue from there, based on the budget, so we are not looking at Federal Government budget.
”We have also gone ahead to have a noodles processing factory where we use local ingredients to produce our noodles.
“We have the chicken processing plant, we have the cocoa facility known across river state is indeed the largest grower of cocoa.
”So, we have been able to set the localisation of industries where it matters so that we cut off cost of transportation and all that’’.
Ikpeme, however, commended the state Governor for looking within towards ending economic crisis in the state and nationally. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Bashir Rabe Mani