In line with its industrialisation initiative aimed at decoupling the state from its dependence on federal allocation, Cross River State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade, has unveiled plans to commence the exportation of international standard chicken soon.
Accordingly, the state has taken delivery of ultra modern chicken processing plant equipment ready for installation at the Ayade Industrial part, even as the construction work for the largest feed mill and yellow maize farm in Obubra has reached an advanced stage.
Fielding questions from journalists shortly after taking delivery of the equipment in Calabar, Ayade disclosed that in no distant time Cross River State will be exporting chicken.
In his words, “Today, Cross River is truly industrialised, preparing ourselves for the post- restructured Nigeria and we are ready. What we have got here is a special system that will process, freeze and prepare chicken for export. It is very digital, modern and highly sophisticated that takes into consideration the bio-medical status of our chicken.”
Explaining further the sophistication of the new equipment, he stated: “If you have a chicken with any form of infection, the system will dictate and remove the affected chicken in the course of processing and that is why we have an internal conveyor system that tracks the health status of birds by taking the temperature and all the necessary quality attributes of every chicken before they are processed for export.”
Continuing, he disclosed: “Cross River State is investing hugely on the provision of chicken feeds. You know we have a very big feed mill coming up in Obubra Local Government Area (LGA), because the land is suitable for yellow maize. Having produced feeds, we have to grow our own birds and ensure that we are the largest exporter of frozen chickens in Africa.
“The tradition in Nigeria is that people import frozen chickens that have been in deep freezer for so long including preserving them with formalin and what have you, which is very dangerous and unacceptable but of course that is what Africans get. Yet we have large arable lands with over 23,000 square km in Cross River alone suitable for cultivation of all crops known to man.”
Ayade further stressed that “In order to meet the international best practice in terms of quality, we have decided to go for world class. That is why we don’t have the McDonalds in Nigeria because they have no guarantee about the quality of our chicken and they cannot afford the agony and the difficulty in importing chickens which you know is on absolute ban.
“So, this gives us the opportunity as a government to create jobs through the instrumentality of the agro-industrial value chain and I am happy that today we have taken delivery of all this equipment to fast track the process of wealth and job creation.”
On the brand name, the governor disclosed: “Our Brand is known as Cala-Chicka; so we are having the Cala-Chicka chicken, from there we will establish Cala-chicka Kitchen. Our Kitchen is going to be a unique brand to be sited in Calabar, Abuja and Lagos, Port Harcourt after which we move to Johannesburg. My dream is to have Calachicka as a brand across the globe.”
Emphasizing the need to veer off from the norm, Ayade said: “I will not be excited if I do what is traditional, my excitement in this government is that I have decided to bring all my business acumen, intellect, exposure, contacts and all that I got to bear to bring Cross River out of this present primitivistic dependent on federal allocation.
“The decoupling process has started. The instrumentation, engineering and the architecture, the sociology of taking the state completely out of its dependent on the federal government has begun.
“That is why this year’s budget of N1.3 trillion, is christened “Budget of Kinetic Crystallization”, because kinetically, I’m crystallising all the concepts and dreams I actually had, and today they are at maturing process. So, you can now see the manifestation of the trillion budget in the amount of equipment we have acquired in the last three months into the state,” he stressed.
Recalling his journey since he assumed office, Governor Ayade said: “When I started, Cross Riverians had no clear idea of what I had in store for them but I knew I was not going through the traditional trajectory known to them and as soon as the restructuring starts, Cross River will shift completely and face oil and gas and you will be amazed at what I will do out of the oil and gas development sector.”
While appealing to Cross Riverians to be patience with his administration, Ayade pleaded: “Allow me the luxury of another four years and see the difference. Of course, before we hit May next year, every single project I have started in terms of factories will all be up and running.
“At the fullness of time when all the maturity of all these concepts shall become practical, yielding funds for the state, when the state can stay back and reap its various investments without the support of the federal government.
“I’m preparing Cross River for the post-restructured era. If indeed this federal government decides to restructure, then it means we will have to depend on all these investments for survival.
“I had to start with the big dreams because my predecessor, Senator Liyel Imoke spent eight years taking government to those who needed it most, transforming the rural areas and preparing them for an industrial revolution and so, it is a cascade, continuum and I’m just taking off from where he stopped.