Beyond crude oil, is the goal of Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom state. Coconut oil he said has over 365 uses, which implies different use of coconut oil every day. From cosmetics products to automobiles industry and then to confectionery, physiotherapy, medicine and general catering, and literally all areas have a feel of coconut oil.
Through his administration, Governor Udom situated a coconut refinery at Ikot Ekpuk, Mkpat Enin Local Government. The project is handled by VKS Nigeria Construction Limited. The refinery occupies a total landmass of 78,487 square meters and is projected to process one million coconuts a day. It will commence with a starting capacity of 300,000 coconuts daily.
The project kicked off on May 24, 2017. On September 25, 2018, the project was inspected by governor Udom to check how much progress the work has experienced. He was impressed with the progress and said the foreign market is in anticipation of the refinery.
The project has a lot of goodies to offer Akwa Ibom state and Nigeria as a whole. The project director, Mr Alper Yilmaz said, just 80 per cent completion, not less than 1000 people has been engaged in the construction process. That in itself fulfils the promise of employment even before completion of the project.
In the coconut factory is the birth of other factories to process palm kernel and process other parts of the coconut fruit. Having completed the st. Gabriel coconut factory, the importation of coconut oil from India will drop drastically as we will have enough to sustain us and even more to export.
With all the goodness St. Gabriel sugar factory promises, the big question is, does the state have enough raw material to meet the factory’s demand for Mass production?
In answer to the big question was Gov. Udom’s instructions to all local government authorities stating that 500 hectares of land should be dedicated for coconut planting and 230 public schools in the state should have at least 300 coconut trees planted within their premises.
Presently the state has 11,000 hectares of land at the Eastern Obolo, Ikot Abasi, Mkpat Enin axis of the state which is meant to accommodate over two million coconut trees.
A member of the house of assembly for Ikot Abasi / Eastern Obolo, Honourable Uduak Ududoh appreciated the government for fulfilling its electoral promise, especially that of employment.
Apart from the Kings Flour Mill, the Jubilee Syringe Manufacturing Company, Lion Plywood/Timber Manufacturing Company, the rice mills, Metering Solutions Company among others industries established by Governor Udom Emmanuel’s administration, the coconut refinery is one that will boost the state’s economy and will generate more funds than crude oil