By Bassey Inyang
Cross River State Governor, Prof Ben Ayade, has expressed delight with the progress of work at the groundnut oil processing factory in Nyanya, Bekwarra Local Government Area of the state.
The 12,000-litres-per-hour groundnut oil processing mill is part of Ayade’s one industry per local government area policy.
Speaking shortly after inspecting the ongoing work at the factory, the governor disclosed his reason for siting the mill, hinting that “this local government area 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 to send Bekwarra groundnut to them, so I started wondering what was so special about Bekwarra groundnut.”
In fulfillment of his promise of an industry to the people of Bekwarra, Ayade said: “So, as part of my industrialisation policy of one industry to a local government area, we took advantage of the raw material in Bekwarra. So, being the largest producer of groundnut in 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 de-shelling process and further down to a granulation and frying from where it goes through a pressing session to a refinery and finally to the bottling line.”
Offering insight on the robotic support component of the factory, Ayade disclosed that “there is a robotic component that does a systematic check on quality. The quality control session is designed with a support laboratory.
“The factory, which has already engaged over a 100 people working at the site, upon completion is expected to employ over 500 of Bekwarra people.
“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.”