Over 4000 Akwa Ibom indigenes will be engaged on the Akwa Ibom coconut plantation, while a total of 15,000 hectares of land are to be involved in the project, Mr Johan Swart of HJ Oil Nigeria Limited, the consultant to the project has stated.
The consultant who made this known in Mkpat Enin local government area of the state while welcoming members of the Finance and Appropriation Committee, House of Assembly on oversight function at the project site stated that five machines worth millions of naira were delivered to the state government last week.
He explained that while a total of 15,000 hectares of land are to be involved in the project, he put at two million the total number of coconut seedlings to be planted on the land, explaining that agricultural graduates were being employed to work on the plantation.
Swart assured that in the next two to three years the coconut seedlings would yield fruits, assuring that the proposed coconut refinery when operating at full capacity, would offer employment to between 4,000 to 5,000 people.
The chairman, Foreign Direct Investment, Ukpe, told the committee members that the state government has taken delivery of five multi-purpose mechanized machines for the coconut plantation and coconut refinery project in the state.
He said that the machines having been taken delivery of by the Ministry of Agriculture would not only be used for the clearing of bush for the planting of coconut seedlings but would also be used in any agricultural programme of the government including mechanized farming.
His words; with the acquisition of the new machines, about 10 hectares of land would be cleared on a daily basis for the planting of the coconut seedlings.
Ukpe disclosed that up to three kilometers of the farmland have been cleared for the planting of the coconut seedlings.
The chairman, House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Akpanusoh, however advised the consultant to work hard to ensure the realization of the project in the interest of the government and the people.