As work at the Ayade Industrial Park nears completion, the governor, Senator Ben Ayade has mobilized contractors for the state proposed noodles, feed mills and tooth pick plants. The noodles manufacturing plant will be located at the industrial park.
Speaking to newsmen at the site of the noodles factory, Commissioner for Commerce, Trade and Industry, Mr. Peter Egba, said, “The idea of noodles production came as a result of the federal government’s school feeding program. It is one of the items people, especially children consume. So the idea is to capture that segment of the market and then extend it to our neighbors like Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea.
Our market research shows noodles sell well in these countries and also because of our proximity to them, it is believed that it will be good if such a factory is established here as they will definitely come to to patronise us.”
On the state of readiness for the take off the plant, Egba hinted: “Right now as we speak, the machines are ready and in two weeks, we would be starting the constructions work. The reason we needed to ensure the machines were ready was because they had to be fabricated outside the country and that is why we started with that process first. The next phase is the civil engineering which is the actual construction phase proper. The machines are already paid for and fabrication work completed.”
According to the Commissioner, “We have completed one hundred percent of the equipments procurement needed to run the noodles factory here in this industrial park. The payment has been made and we believe that by the time they are shipped into the country, we should have gone far with the construction.”
On the capacity for the noodles plant, Egba disclosed: “We are looking at 50,000 metric tons per annum because we have received a lot of interests from patrons. 50,000 metric ton per annum is the capacity we intend to channel into the market.”
On the completion deadline for the plant, the Commerce Commissioner further hinted that “Counting from when the machines were ordered to the stage we are now which is the construction of the factory proper, we are looking at a maximum of three months to be done with the construction.”
Other equipment the state government has also made payment for, according to Egba, is the vibrated electric pole manufacturing plant, which he said will be established in Akamkpa.
“We want to take advantage of the quarry dust in Akampa to customise electric poles because most of the electric poles we use in Cross River State are gotten from Kogi and Benue States, so that is why the state government is using their initiative since we have the quarry dust in abundance we should be able to leverage on them.”
Continuing, he disclosed: “We have also paid for and expecting the delivery of poultry and feed mill machine which is going to be located at Obubura. We are expecting them to arrive by the first week of the month of May.
“We also have on ground the machines for the toothpick production in Ekori in Yakuur Local Government Area. Our Chinese partners are coming next week to install them. We have done up to 80 percent in building the factory in Ekoli. Right now the main factory hall is 80 percent ready.
“Engineers are coming all the way from China to install them. By next week we should be moving them. The major raw material we intend to use for tooth pick is the bamboo and because Ekori is very close to Abi and Abi and Ekori have a lot of bamboos we decided to establish it there.”
Offering insight on the state government’s industrialization drive, Egba noted that “the idea of putting up these factories is because Cross River is a civil service state and every month we run to Abuja to get our revenue from the federal government which is decreasing by the day. So the establishment of these factories is simply to decouple the state from its over dependency on the centre. By the time we do this we would be able to create our own wealth, produce and sell to diverse people and also be able to create employment for graduates every year.”