The Akwa Ibom government has concluded plans to partner Mkpu Community in Itu Mbonuso Clan, Ini Local Government Area, for the acquisition of large expanse of landfor the realisation of food sufficiency in the state.
The commissioner for agriculture, Dr. Offiong Offor, made the disclosure while playing host to royal fathers and community leaders of the area, during a solidarity visit to her at the Conference Room of the Ministry in Uyo, recently.
Offor, flanked by the permanent secretary in the Ministry, Mrs. Mary Ukoette Bassey and directors, said the state government, under Governor Udom Emmanuel, who is committed to the full capacity production of coconut oil at the St Gabriel Refinery, would be willing to partner Mkpu Community to acquire more expanse of land for coconut plantations.
The commissioner explained that the state government, apart from encouraging farmers in agricultural production through inputs supply and interest-free loans for food sufficiency to be actualized in the state, would as well encourage them to raise coconut plantations to ensure sufficient supply of raw materials for daily production at the factory.
She hinted that coconut seedlings, cassava and other valuable crops to be cultivated in their land by government, on acquisition, will increase the raw material base of the coconut factory, increase food production and create employment opportunities for youths of the area, thereby empowering them financially and improving the economy of the state.
Offor recalled with delight that the immediate past commissioner for agriculture, Dr. Glory Edet, had started and concluded the process of utilising the community’s land for agricultural purposes, assuring that officials of her Ministry will soon embark on the inspection visit of the land for the immediate commencement of agricultural production, this second planting season.
Her words: “It is a golden opportunity for the community to enjoy government presence. The state government has established coconut plantations in Okobo, Eastern Obolo, Mkpat Enin, Eket and Ini will be a new addition to the list of locations where coconut is massively cultivated. This will boost virgin coconut oil production and as well put Itu Mbonusu in limelight.”
The agriculture expert appreciated the community leaders for donating their land to the state government for agricultural development, saying that the area will enjoy similar privileges and rights just like other communities in the state that have donated their land for agricultural purposes.
The clan head of Itu Mbonuso, who is also the village head of Mkpu, Obong Joshua Iseh, explained earlier that their visit was a way of solidarity with Dr Offiong Offor, being their daughter, over her appointment as commissioner for agriculture and a member of the State Executive Council.
Iseh appreciated Governor Udom Emmanuel for appointing their daughter into the State Executive Council as commissioner for agriculture, noting with satisfaction that their donation of land to the state government for agricultural development project was justified.
He declared the determination of the Mkpu community to cooperate with the state government towards the success ofthe project implementation in the area in the interest of the government and his people.
The community leader, Mkpu, Itu Mbonuso, Engr. Bassey Bassey, while contributing, described the appointment of Offor as commissioner for agriculture as a privilege and appreciated her for granting them audience and a warm reception despite the short notice.
Bassey declared the loyalty of the Mkpu Community in Utu Mbonuso Clan and that of Ini people towards the success of their daughter as commissioner for agriculture as well as the completion and succession agenda of Governor Emmanuel in 2023.
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