Cross River State governor, Sir Ben Ayade has expressed happiness with the progress of work at the groundnut oil processing factory in Nyanya, Bekwarra Local Government Area.
The 12,000 litres per hour groundnut oil processing mill is part of Ayade’s one industry per local government policy.
Speaking shortly after inspecting ongoing work at the factory, the governor disclosed his reason for the siting of the mill, hinting that “this local government is known to be the largest producer of groundnuts and indeed the best quality in Nigeria.
“A lot of people from Northern Nigeria call me and ask me to send Bekwarra groundnut, so I started wondering what was so special about Bekwarra groundnut.”
In fulfilment of his promise of the industry to the people of Bekwarra, Ayade said: “So as part of my industrialization policy of one industry to a local government, we take advantage of the raw material in Bekwarra.
“So being the largest producer of groundnut in the whole of Nigeria, I decided to set up a vegetable oil plant.”
On the installed capacity of the factory, the governor hinted that “the vegetable oil plant is projected to mill 12,000 litres per hour on completion, producing natural vegetable oil from groundnut. So we have a system where the groundnut comes fresh from the farm, goes through a drying and deshelling process and further down to granulation and frying from where it goes through a pressing session to a refinery and finally it goes through the bottling line.”
Offering insight into the robotic support component of the factory, the governor disclosed that “there is a robotic component that does a systematic check on the quality. The quality control session is designed with a support laboratory.
“The factory which has already engaged over a hundred people working at the site, upon completion is expected to employ over 500 of Bekwarra sons and daughters.
“Indeed, this is just one factory and the project engineer said on the immediacy he has already employed 115 people on the site.
“So ultimately, by the time the factory begins production with all the automation that we have put in place for precision in terms of quality, every other thing is semi mechanical to allow the input of human beings.”
Ayade, while voicing his satisfaction with the progress of work, beamed: “I am far more than impressed, especially with the fact that the handlers of the project are all young Cross Riverians. We have here a young architect from Cross River and I am happy and I do not mind sending him anywhere in the world to be trained and become an expert in this field of mechanical construction.”
Core Reporters report that Ayade said the groundnut oil processing factory will significantly alter the economic landscape of Bekwarra, noting that “Bekwarra people are very industrious and they are great farmers, very hard-working and talented. So bringing this back to their doorstep, I am sure they will take pride in it.”