Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom has inaugurated a rice mill in Ini Local Government Area of the state to boost food production.
Emmanuel while inaugurating the factory on Saturday said that it was the first rice mill in the state.
The governor said that the rice mill would give birth to several other factories in the area.
He said the establishment of the rice mill was part of his administration’s resolve to ensure that with time, 80 per cent of staple food consumed by Akwa Ibom people, was produced in the state.
“This is the first rice mill in the state. I also promise to inaugurate a cocoa processing factory in this Federal Constituency of the state”, he said.
Emmanuel said that the project was a Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative that would give birth to the establishment of more industries in the area.
He thanked the youths and members of the community for their support and cooperation for the scheme.
He said: “under the present economic realities in Nigeria, it is not an easy thing to put up an industry like this and it is really the grace of God that has made us achieve this.
“When you see some industries in certain places, it is because the owners of the land willingly donated it without compensation and gave a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to the investors to build such industries.”
The governor urged all youths and stakeholders in the state to continue to maintain peace in their respective communities to enable more investments to thrive.
According to him, Ini, which for a very long time had no power supply, got its light restored in the first phase of his electricity project in the area.
Emmanuel said that the second phase of the power scheme would be completed in the first quarter of 2019.
Mr Aniekan Utuk, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Ibom Agricon Farms Limited, said the factory at its current capacity could produce two metric tonnes of rice per hour.
Utuk promised to ensure high quality and standard of the rice produced to meet the expectations of the people.
Also speaking, Emmanuel Ekpenyong, member representing Ini at the State House of Assembly, thanked the governor for prioritising the local government in siting projects.
Ekpenyong, who is also the Chief Whip of the house, lauded the governor for his industrialisation strides and promised that the people would reciprocate with their votes during 2019 general elections.
On his part, Prof. Edet Udoh, the Chairman of the State Technical Committee on Agriculture and Food Sufficiency, said the rice mill was a further boost to the administration’s industrial development initiative.
Udoh said the type of rice produced in the factory was premium long grain rice bagged in all-weather proof laminated bags.
He further said that the product had passed through the modern processes devoid of dirt and contamination.
Newsmen report that highlight of the event was the purchase of 20,000 bags of the product by Gov. Emmanuel as an off taker, for distribution to people during the yuletide.