Akwa Ibom Enterprise and Employment Scheme (AKEES) has taken a bold step in agro production as it ventures into cultivation of 22 types of vegetables with the aim to raise the bar of food sufficiency in the state. This was ascertained yesterday as Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Charles Udoh embarked on a good governance tour on farmlands formed under AKEES Farm Base scheme.
Elder Ufot Ebong, who is doubling as Senior Special Adviser to Akwa Ibom State governor on Bureau of Technical Matters and Due Process and AKEES coordinator, led the team to the farms in a bid to showcase the achievement of AKEES in agricultural sector. Beginning from pockets of vegetable gardens at Shelter Afrique, Uyo described as Demonstration Farms by Elder Ebong, the farms hold variety of vegetables such as tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, radish, onions, local garden eggs, green pepper, yellow pepper, red pepper, Cameroon pepper, okra, etc.
Commenting on tomato cultivation, Elder Ufot Ebong said that the specie cultivated at the farms include Roma Red, Cobra and Tolga which are of superior quality to those brought into the state from Northern Nigeria. He revealed that characteristics of ‘AKEES tomatoes’ include thicker skin, lesser quantity of seeds and less water content. Ebong further said that each stand of the tomato could yield the minimum of 60 fruits.
Speaking to newsmen, Mr. Langwa Brezhnev from the Cameroons, who is in charge of the supervision and the management of the farms, said that Akwa Ibom is suitable for the cultivation of many kinds of vegetables.
“I came here to cultivate tomatoes, and AKEES pushed me to demonstrate on other 21 vegetables and surprisingly most of them have been doing better than in the Cameroons. Like in the southwestern Cameroons, lands are stony. We have to struggle with stones to make beds but here in Akwa Ibom you don’t see such thing.
“When you move around in Akwa Ibom, surprisingly, you see the grass growing, and people say certain crops and vegetables cannot grow here. So mysterious that grass can grow, and vegetables can’t grow. So my responsibility is to work with AKEES in order to demystify what had been hidden here for a thousand year.” Brezhnev said.
In his remark, Pastor Praise Okon, the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Information and Strategy who was representing the commissioner, Mr. Charles Udoh, said that the he is impressed with what AKEES has done in ensuring that Akwa Ibom is food-sufficient saying that in a short while Akwa Ibom State would be the next supplier of vegetables.