Akwa Palm’s Revamping: Akwa Ibom State Govt rallies host communities’ support
… Enumerates Benefits to Communities, State, Ors
… This is the Opportunity we have been Yearning for – ALGON Chairman
As part of efforts to ensure hitch free revamping of the moribund Akwa Palms, the State Government has urged the host communities to render maximum support as work is to commence in the site soonest.
Speaking at a meeting of the host communities and Government representatives, the Executive Director of Agric Investment – Pastor Umo Eno – reminded the Communities that the plantation had been abandoned for over 25 years, adding that the Governor Udom led administration, in its desired to create jobs, reduce over dependence on crude oil and engender food sufficiency, has concluded plans to revamp the moribund company.
For the record, the host communities of the defunct Akwa Palms includes; Idung Assan, Akwata and Ntakinyang in Esit Eket LGA, Orukim and Unyege in Mbo LGA, and Udung Ukpo in Urue-Offong/Oruko LGA.
Pastor Umo Eno noted that Akwa Ibom is known as one of the areas with abundant palm products but without substantial evidence to prove it.
The Executive Director who is also the commissioner for Lands and Water Resources, said the Directorate had earlier had a cognizance tour round the facility, stressing that work will start from the scratch as most of the palm trees are old and wild.
He noted that the revamping is driven through Public Private Partnership (PPP) and assured the communities of sustainability of the project.
Pastor Umo Eno disclosed that given the projections of the State Government and the development partners, within five years, the area will become a hive of activity with all round benefits to the communities and the State in general.
According to him, “one of the things this plantation will also do is to train our young people on farming, different kinds of farming but especially oil palm production. We will work with them,
train them, and form them into small groups of out-growers. The seedlings will also be given to them for cultivation. We will make them develop interest in agriculture. This project will provide trainings and employment opportunities for our youths.
“There is also a future plan to add a mill and tank farm to it. Today, the price of palm oil is far higher than crude oil in the international market, so if we support this project, other people will be interested, the Central bank is very interested in the project and they are prepared to help us expand it for our benefit; and it will direct global attention to Akwa Ibom State and take our youths off the street. So we need your support,” the Executive Director added.
He announced the constitution of a nine man steering committee with three each, including the Local Government Chairman, from each of the three host LGAs, disclosing that with the new partnership, the facility has been rebranded to – Dakkada Global Oil Palm Limited.
Expressing delight over the project, the Chairman, Esit Eket Local Government Area, Hon Iniobong Robinson said it was an opportunity they have been praying and yearning for, adding that such was a rare opportunity which they must embrace with open arms.
Hon Iniobong Robinson who is also the State Chairman of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), declared that the Communities were elated to receive the good news after many years of abandonment, stressing that the host communities will be the major beneficiaries.
“We really need to support the efforts of Government. So I want to assure you that as council chairmen, we will engage the people and enlighten them and get all hands to be on deck to ensure that this project succeeds.
Others who also spoke including the Chairmen of Mbo and Urue-Offong/Oruko LGAs, Clan heads, village heads and youth president, assured Government of their willingness and readiness to support the project to succeed.
The meeting which was anchored by the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs – Hon. Frank Archibong, also had in attendance, clan heads and youth presidents of the host Communities and a team from the Directorate of Agric Investment and others.