Ndifreke P. Akpan (Govt House)
The Akwa Ibom State Government has signed a partnership agreement for the cultivation of bamboo in the state with the President, World Bamboo Organization, Mr Michael Abadie.
The event took place at the Akwa Ibom State Government House, Uyo on Friday.
The Governor, before signing the partnership agreement, had told his guests that the cardinal objective of his administration is to create wealth and bring prosperity to the people.
Governor Emmanuel said different species of bamboo exist in the state and asked the Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Sufficiency, Dr Uduak Charles Udoinyang to make them available for the experts to test and choose the recommended.
He said with arable land, adequate rainfall and suitable climate, the state is poised for bamboo cultivation in commercial quantity and called for support from the United Nations.
“Please help us talk to the United Nations, we have interest in developing a complete value chain. I don’t mind, I will put a pen to the paper to sign our initial agreement in front of the press men. Talk to the UN that we have everything it takes to feed the world with bamboo and all its auxiliary products”.
The Governor promised to provide 1,000 hectares of land against the 600 hectares requested by 7 Star Bamboo Manufacturing Company Limited, for the cultivation of bamboo.
Appealing further, he said, “I want to believe please, you will try and let us benefit from the United Nations funding for this without asking me for counterpart funding”.
Mr Emmanuel thanked the visiting team for considering Akwa Ibom worthy of the collaboration and described the situation as divine.
He expressed appreciation to his guests for the invitation to the World Bamboo Conference in Mexico, August next year, and indicated his willingness to speak at the Conference.
Speaking earlier, the President, World Bamboo Organization, Mr Michael Abadie, had expressed pleasure to share in the willingness of Governor Emmanuel to develop bamboo in the state.
Mr Abadie who described bamboo as not being an ordinary plant stated that the commitment of the Governor to bamboo cultivation will be a legacy in the future and invited him to a conference in Mexico next year for being the first Governor in Africa to sign such partnership agreement.
Speaking further during in an interview, the President, Bamboo Science & Innovation and World Bamboo Ambassador, Jean-Luc Kouyoumji said his non profit organization wants to ensure technological transfer to Africa in bamboo business as much as they can.
Also speaking with journalists, the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr Uduak Charles Udoinyang, said Akwa Ibom State was ready for the investment, stressing that the target is not just Bamboo for export which is Fibre Bamboo, but to have a Bamboo village.
He expressed optimism that thousands of jobs will be created when the proposal becomes a reality.
The signing of the partnership agreement was also witnessed by the Secretary to the State Government, Sir Etekamba Umoren, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr. Uwemedimo Nwoko, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Charles Udoh, and other top government functionaries.