By Mfonobong Ukpong
Akwa Ibom State government under the Udom Emmanuel led administration is poised to boost tomato availability in the state with a weekly harvest of over 100,000 tomatoes beginning from the third week of August this year as part of post COVID-19 Economic activities.
Already, about 108,000 tomato seedlings plantation is currently being cultivated on 7 hectares of farmland at Ifiayong and Mbiakong communities in Uruan local government area of the state.
Speaking with newsmen, Tuesday at the tomato farmland, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Technical Matters and Co-ordinator of the project Mr. Ufot Ebong explained that he got a marching order from the Governor to ensure that Tomato cultivation which began in 2016 with a pilot programme was mass cultivated across the 10 federal constituencies in the state.
Ebong further explained that the idea behind the new Tomato plantation at Ifiayong was to ensure that the state is self sufficient in tomato production and to make it available for local and international market.
“During the lockdown we realized we were able to feed ourselves because of the food sufficiency programme of the Governor.
“What we are doing here is to perfect what we started in 2016 in terms of cultivating 22 different types of vegetable.
“We will transplant this tomato seedlings from the Nursery here to the farm which is being prepared as you can see the bed making in preparation for tomatoes cultivation of 108,000 seedlings of tomatoes”.
A Supervisor working at the plantation, Idongesit Eshiet who is a graduate of Agric Economics and Extension, hailed Governor Udom Emmanuel for his commitment in ensuring food security and availability in the state.
“I used to assume that tomato production was exclusively for the North, but to the glory of God, His Excellency through Ufot Ebong has changed that mentality.
“Few days from now we will transplant the tomato seedlings. What I’m doing here has really added value to me. A lot of people travel out of this state to do this bed tilling in the North”.
In every week from the third week of August they will be harvesting over a 100,000 tomatoes. It is a continuous cycle.