Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, has charged youths of the State to explore the abundant economic potentials to create wealth for sustainability and self reliance.
Governor Emmanuel gave the charge during the launching of Akwa Ibom Enterprise and Employment Scheme, AKEES, held at Ibom Hall, Uyo.
He said God has endowed the state with enormous human and natural resources that can be utilised to grow the economy, earn a living and particularly congratulated the beneficiaries of the scheme for taking
a bold step to acquire innovative skills to boost their enterprises.
The State Chief Executive described the scheme as an answer to the yearnings of Nigerians for the emergence of small and medium scale industrialisation programme as it is done in other developing nations stressing that it has come at a time the nation is battling the prevailing economic recession by exploring other means of generating revenue following the decline in the oil revenue at the International market.
Governor Emmanuel who stated that the scheme was to ginger Akwa Ibom youths and by extension Nigerian youths to explore other avenues for economic growth through aggresive Agricultural enterprise which has a viable value chain explained that his commitment to undertake the cocoa maintenance and production scheme as well as Coconut Oil Refinery was to boost the state’s economy as the price of cocoa and coconut oil are higher than crude oil in the international market.
He pointed out that his administration would continue to encourage cocoa cultivation by providing incentives to farmers who cultivate at least five hectares and explained that if the state can 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,” the Governor stated.
He pointed out that the specie of cocoa produced in the state has the best flavour and that a business retreat to brainstorm on how to utilize the various natural endowments to create wealth would be held to enable the State go into large scale production of cassava, tomatoes, vegetables and other cash crops with the application of the right technology to feed industries and for both local consumption and export.
Setting the tone for the event, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Technical Matters, Elder Ufot Ebong said that AKEES is a franchise scheme incorporating technical and vocational skill acquisition and entrepreneurial training designed for the implementation of the state government’s new Enterprise Development Programme.
He added that the scheme aims at empowering unemployed youths to acquire skills that would enable them produce goods and services that compete with those in other climes adding that the project is in line with the Dakkada philosophy which encourages Akwa Ibom people to rise to greatness in whatever their hand finds to do.

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