By Okon Bassey in Uyo
Akwa Ibom state government has said that in the next three years it will increase cocoa production in the state to 80,000 acres of plantation.
The State Government also explained its commitment to undertake the cocoa maintenance and production scheme as well as coconut oil refinery.
According to Governor Udom Emmanuel, the state investment in that aspect of agriculture was because of their viable value chain as the price of cocoa and coconut oil remained higher than crude oil in the international market.
Speaking Wednesday in Uyo at the launching of Akwa Ibom Enterprise and Employment Scheme, AKEES, the Governor said the scheme was to ginger Akwa Ibom youths to explore other avenues for economic growth through aggressive Agricultural enterprise.
Emmanuel said his administration would continue to encourage cocoa cultivation by providing incentives to farmers with at least five hectares and explained that if the state could cultivate a
hundred hectares of cocoa it will regain it ranking as one of the major producer of the crop.
“Akwa Ibom used to be the fourth largest producer of cocoa in Nigeria and we are ready to get back there. Our target, which is very measurable, is that in the next one and half year, we want to double current production. In the next three years, we expect to have up to 70,000 to 80,000 acres of cocoa plantation in Akwa Ibom. I am sure with that we will rank among the first two in Nigeria”, he stressed.
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