The government of Akwa Ibom is putting measures in place to make the State a cocoa production hub within the entire West African sub-region, targeting over 60,000 hectares of cocoa plantations. To fast track the project, over 30,000 hectares of improved cocoa plantations have been set up across various local government areas of the State, even as more than 35 hectares of palm oil plantations are established in 15 councils of the region.
The State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel disclosed this in Lagos, stressing that the State has about 129 shorelines that can be turned into wealth creation for the area. “Akwa Ibom is going to be number two in cocoa production, not even number 10. We have evergreen area and with such, we can produce raw materials. By May 29, 2016, we will bring out a day old chick from our hatchery. Poverty alleviation involves providing basic necessities for the people, and human development does not end with education only. Those who are not doing well in the classroom can acquire skills, training in football and other talents to enhance their development in the society.”
On agriculture projects in the State, he said, “Our projects in agriculture are expanding very fast. Currently, we are running two planting seasons and calling on more people to key into this scheme. Many of our youths were sent for a special training on modern agriculture in Israel, and we are going to send another 450 people for similar training. Those who did the first training will go for another phase of the training, to be fully equipped in the field. When we look at development and innovation in advanced economies, we will realise that Nigeria and African countries must come to terms with happenings in the global economic environment”.
He said, “Three major things drive economic growth and development. These include security, reliable infrastructure and solid legislation. In Akwa Ibom, we spend so much from our federal allocation on security to protect the people and to secure the State for investments inflow. The previous government met total infrastructure decay on ground, tackled that aspect very well, thereby laying the foundation of development in the State for us to build on. We have been able to set up Technical Committees on Ibom Deep Seaport project, Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) drive, agriculture and food security. Our plan for the future is to establish a direct ferry to link the Republic of Cameroun and Oron area of the State. This will boost maritime and other economic activities through Oron waterways. The initiative is to enhance industrial growth. At this point in our history, it is imperative to diversify the economy into non-oil export sectors for greater growth, like what obtains in developed countries. We need to ask ourselves how much we realised from crude oil in the last 30 years and how it is impacting on the lives of our people.”