By Margaret Massodih
Keeping to his vowed commitment to harness on human and natural resources within the communities to bring to bear growth and development, the Executive Chairman, Mkpat Enin Local Government Area, Hon. Ekanem Brown has began to maximally utilize the abundant oil palm resources within Mkpat Enin to revive the rural economy and improve on the quality of lives.
Palm oil in the world over is rated as the most widely consumed vegetable oil on the globe, having its content in virtually all consumables. Notably, it is priced higher than crude oil in the global market with palm kernel oil selling thrice the cost of crude palm oil.
Understanding the huge business opportunity and goldmine yet untapped, Hon. Brown in a well articulated vision commenced a programme on the productivity and quality improvement of palm oil production, a programme geared towards significantly improving on agriculture, attracting global market, diversifying the economy and driving income growth.
According to him “oil palm is indigenous to Mkpat Enin, so I see no reason why it cannot serve as a veritable tool for the socio-economic development of Mkpat Enin Local Government Area by means of creating jobs, wealth creation and attracting Foreign Direct Investment.”
He believes that over 80% of women will significantly benefit from the empowerment programme as they form the greater number of processors in palm oil production.
Ignited by the passion to positively change the narrative at the grassroot level, improve income and livelihood of the people, the Council boss hit the ground running by first engaging in an assessment tour to numerous palm oil mills across the 4 Clans in Mkpat Enin which are; Ukpum Minya, Ikpa Ibom, Ikpa Ikono and Ibiaku and subsequently engaged the indigenes on the theoretical training process.
The last phase of the programme, which is the practical session will build the capacity of palm oil processors with technical skills on how to produce quality palm oil, increase yield and productivity that will attract the international market.
Hon. Ekanem Brown is at the rural level replicating Governor Udom Emmanuel’s drive for an agriculturally industrialized economy geared towards diversifying the economic base of Akwa Ibom State to be the major economic hub in the coast of West Africa.