With the dwindling fortunes of crude oil in the world market, Akwa Ibom State Government is looking into economy without oil by investing in Coconut plantation and Coconut refinery as coconut oil is the new global cash cow.
The Commissioner for Information, Sir Charles Udoh stated this while speaking on the significance of the twin projects during an on-the-spot assessment tour of St. Gabriel Coconut plantation and St. Gabriel Coconut Oil Refinery today, Tuesday, June 23 by the State Government Information Management Team.
Sir Charles Udoh said with a barrel of coconut oil selling higher now in the world market than crude oil and the over 300 uses of Coconut, it became expedient for a visionary and foresighted leader in the person of Governor Udom Emmanuel to dive into Coconut plantation/ Coconut refinery investments for increased revenue.
In addition to the revenue that will be accruing to the State from the projects, the plantation and refinery which have already opened up job opportunities for the youths in the state, will on completion create thousands of jobs, create wealth and alleviate poverty amongst the people of the state, the Information Boss stated.
Conducting members of the State Government Information team round the Coconut plantation, the Foreman, Mr. Ime Monday Johnson, a Crop Scientist from the University of Uyo, said, the plantation at the moment is undergoing field maintenance, fertilizer application and Organic manure spreading to nourish and boost growth of the coconut plants.
He said, the 11,000 hectares Coconut plantation situated within 3 LGAs of Mkpat Enin, Ikot Abasi and Eastern Obolo has 2 million coconut stands adding that the yields will feed the Coconut refinery with a production capacity of One million coconuts per day.
At the St. Gabriel Coconut Oil Factory, the Project Manager, Alper Yilmaz said that work at the Coconut refinery was nearing completion awaiting installations of equipment which was slowed down by insurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The project manager showed the team round the different sections of the factory intimating that, there are 3 back-up 800 kVA generators and a transformer to ensure 24 hr power supply to the refinery which is already linked to the National grid.
Yilmaz said, at full production capacity, the factory will run a shift of 300 staff which will translate into employment of about 1000 direct workers including professionals like Accountants and Administrative staff.
The State Government Information Management Team continues the on the spot projects inspection tour as part of activities of the team towards heightening publicity and awareness of live touching projects of Governor Udom Emmanuel in the past 5 years of his administration.