By; Patrick Titus, Uyo.
As Akwa Ibom State gears up towards boosting foods production in the state, available information showed that 22 vegetables can grow favourable in the state.
Senior Special Assistant to Gov. Udom Emmanuel on Technical Matters and Due Process, Mr. Ufot Ebong who disclosed this in Uyo said the research was carried out by a team of researchers under Akwa Ibom Enterprise and Employment Scheme (AKEES).
Ebong who took journalists round the demonstration farm established by AKEES growing tomatoes, garden egg, pepper and other vegetable crops also hinted that Akwa Ibom people spent about N15 billion on tomatoes consumption every year.
The senior special assistant who is also the Coordinator of AKEES said the Scheme has started planting tomatoes in large quantity though modernised method using barter system to boost food production in the state and create employment for the teeming youth.
According to him, one hectare of land could yield four tones of tomatoes in a single harvest costing about N6 million. “Growing tomatoes alone can fetch millions of naira every month,” Ebong added.
He added that AKEES pencil factory which also started test production in October 2016 has the capacity to produce 140, 000 packets of pencils in three months.
Ebong said the factory located along Km 2 Uyo Etinan road in Etinan Local Government Area of the state has three lines of production capacity.
He explained that the pencil factory would coexist with the tooth pick production running side by side.
According to him, the essence of running the pencil and tooth pick together was to save the running cost of production and maximise profit.
He assured that there was a ready market for the product as the period of test run was to source for available markets.
“If you enter that factory, there are three production lines for pencil and three production lines for tooth pick under one roof this is to save cost.
“Part of the test run production is to develop the market. I can tell you we have orders even as far as Sokoto state coming to buy the pencil.
“The factory when in full operation, one line can produce 140, 000 cartons of pencil in three months, “Ebong said.
The AKEES Coordinator said the major aim of establishing the Scheme was to reawaken the entreprise skills of Akwa Ibom youths and create wealth instead of allowing them to go begging for money from political office holders.
By; Patrick Titus, Uyo.