The proposed Akwa Ibom state Coconut refinery currently under construction is to be supported by homegrown coconut fruits from the state as no coconut would be imported to feed the giant industry plant.
To this end, about two million coconuts are currently being grown in the state-sponsored plantation of about 11,000 hectares toward feeding the plant. In addition, the State Government has begun the distribution of thousands of coconut seedlings to schools and organisations in the state, in its latest effort to feed the refinery once it commences operation.
The state’s commissioner for agriculture, Glory Edet, said this on Friday in Uyo. Ms. Edet said the government was ready to support different organisations as part of efforts to increase the production level of coconut in the state.
“The ministry of agriculture is poised to encourage individuals,organisations, institutions and corporate bodies to contribute to the collaborativeeffort of massive production of coconuts and its value chains towardsproduction lines of the coconut oil factory in the state,” the commissionersaid.
The state flagged off its coconut oil refinery in 2017, but theproject, which is near completion, was delayed this year due to the COVID-19pandemic, the commissioner of information, Charles Udo, said in June.
The factory, believed to be the only one in the country, islocated at Mkpat Enin local government of the state, and is said to have aprojected capacity of processing about one million coconuts a day, but willcommence with a capacity of 300,000 coconuts daily.
The government has an 11,000-hectare coconut plantation lying across three local government areas, and holding two million coconuts stands to feed the refinery.
Besides its wide applications in food processing and pharmaceuticals, coconut oil is used as raw material for the production of soap and as a medium in the paint and varnish industries. It is also used in the manufacture of detergents, surfactants, emulsifiers, and pesticides.