As part of his administration's industrialisation drive, Governor Udom Emmanuel has disclosed that arrangements have been concluded for the establishment of tomato puree processing factory in the state.
The governor who made the disclosure in Uyo, while on inspection tour of food crops and vegetable green houses set up by the State Government said the tomatoes harvested from the green houses and other parts of the state will serve as raw material for the factory.
Emmanuel said his administration was embarking on various agricultural initiatives with a view to crashing food prices in the state.
According to Emmanuel, "Right now we do not want to produce for export, we want to produce for local market so that our people can eat and eat well at a very affordable price".
He remarked that the high yielding seedlings cultivated in the greenhouse will also create wealth for the state, adding that already, the cucumber cultivated in the facility would be ready for harvesting in September.
"If you look at the quality of food we have here, every single naira invested here will be realized within a short period of time, the tomatoes were planted exactly one month ago and by September, we should be harvesting the cucumber.
"The whole idea is to transfer technology within a short period. 90 to 95 percent of people working here are Akwa Ibom people and by the time they will leave here, they should be able to set up their own farm", Governor Emmanuel asserted.
On the cattle ranch in Adadia, in Uruan Local Government Area, Emmanuel explained that the facility, which is expected to cater for 2000 herds of cattle arriving the state from Mexico, was a fully integrated cattle farm that will produce milk, cheese, meat, hide and skin for various economic uses.
He remarked that the special grasses intended for feeding the cows, have been planted in about 100 hectres of land, noting that the processed grasses will provide nutrition to the cattle, to ensure that the people got "better quality meat than what is in the market".
The Governor added that the ranch project is one of the many agriculture-based interventions of his administration aimed at reducing unemployment for Akwa Ibom youths as well as improve the lifestyle and living conditions of the people.
"Human growth is about the lifestyle, we are interested in the lives of our people from start to finish. In other parts of the world, people no longer drink evaporated milk, they drink fresh milk, so, as a good leader, you have to be interested in what your people eat.
Leadership is about vision and creativity, this land could have laid wasted but the ranch will provide employment to a lot of Akwa Ibom youths. We also want to be the state that minimum of 80 percent of what we eat, is produced here", he enthused.
Earlier, the consultant of the greenhouse project, Mr. Cobus San Carlos, stated that the greenhouse provide adequate chlorophyll to plants as well as control the external factors that may negatively affect the growth of plants.
Cobus explained that the hydroponic system used in the greenhouses, was a cheaper way of cultivating high yielding crops which are not only nutritious but also affordable.
He applauded the state government for taking the initiative to consider the future of its people by putting modalities in place to provide well nourished and affordable food to people across the state.