DELTA State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has assured makers of local fabric popularly called Akwa-Ocha of his administration’s support to enable them meet with market demands.
The Governor gave the assurance on Tuesday at the graduation ceremony of the 2017 Akwa-Ocha Trainees, at the Delta State Leather Works/Shoe Factory, Issele-Uku.
According to the Governor who was accompanied to the occasion by his wife, Dame Edith and top government functionaries, “it is gratifying that the demand for Akwa-Ocha has greatly increased, proving that it is economically viable.”
“As a government, we shall encourage you to increase your production, we will train more persons to acquire the skill and we encourage you (the graduands) to train especially, the youths as it is in line with our Strategic Wealth Creation Projects and Provision of jobs for all Deltans in the SMART agenda of my administration,” the Governor said, assuring that aside providing modern machines that will make the beneficiaries to be producing more than three Akwa-Ocha in a day instead of the number of weeks it was taking to produce one, there will be close monitoring for teething problems associated with beginners to be tackled.
He observed that the addition of Akwa-Oma which is other colours apart from white of the local fabric has increased the choice, noting that it was also, more beneficial that the fabric has been integrated into the design for leather and foot ware, thereby, creating unique Delta products for the market.
“I congratulate the graduands, I urge them to form themselves into cooperative societies to enable them benefits from different facilities offered by government and other institutions; I thank those who have preserved the culture of making Akwa-Ocha, I thank them for preserving our culture, it is good that we have added Akwa-Oma which are the coloured ones to the Akwa-Ocha (white fabric) and we hope the beneficiaries will grow from micro to medium scale industrialists,” the Governor reiterated.
He also, inspected the shoes and other leather materials being manufactured in the factory.
Earlier, the Chairman of Delta State Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (DEMSMA), Chief Suru Salami said, “65 (sixty five) Akwa-Ocha trainees are graduating today and will be given starter parks in form of equipment and cash to set up their own industries and employ others; today’s graduation ceremony is not only about self-employment and wealth creation, but, it has great bearing on the cultural life of Deltans because, Akwa-Ocha, which literarily mean white clothe is a cloth that is won by the Anioma people and it symbolized their pride, elegance and dignity; it should be mentioned that other people in Delta State, Nigeria and the world at large have come to appreciate Akwa-Ocha.”
“This centre was recently enriched with new equipment courtesy of Governor Okowa’s administration capable of producing three Akwa-Ocha wrappers and fifty mufflers a day, unlike the traditional ones that can produce an average of one wrapper in two weeks; it has broadened opportunities for the improvement of the quality of Akwa-Ocha to requisite export standard, boost the income of local producers and revive the cotton industry in Delta State,” Chief Salami stated.