By Chidi Onyemaizu
The world class Cross River integrated Food Factory has not always been there.It is the product of a head that thinks proactively.
Of course, deep thinkers are precursors of innovative ideas.In Cross River, someone is.That person is His Excellency,Sir Ben Ayade (KSJ).Before 2015, almost the entire expanse of land along the Goodluck Jonathan bye pass, Calabar was a mass of thick shrubs.
But then, Sir Ayade became governor and the narrative changed.The thick shrubs gave way to a galaxy of industries, birthing the Calabar industrial park.The phalanx of factories at the industrial park is a sight to behold.
Sir Ayade’s fecudity of refreshing ideas verges on Cross River of tomorow where quality of life is assured and prosperity reigns.The current Industrialisation blitz of the administration bears undeniable testament to this.
The Cross River Integrated Food Processing factory, primed for the production of calavita range of noodles, is one of the flagship industries at the park that has today turned the Jonathan bye pass into a bubbling industrial hub.
The integrated food processing factory typifies a story.It tells a schintilating story of how a leader’s can do spirit can actually galvanise innovations and yields unparalleled results.Sir Ayade embodies an uncanny can do spirit that moves mountains.
Manifestations come handsomely. The state of the art Integrated Food Factory is one of such.Built from scratch to finish by the Sir Ayade administration, the factory parades the latest technology in noodles production.
Essentially, for a governor who believes that nothing but the best is good enough for Cross River nay Nigeria,the Integrated Food processing factory is set to wrought a paradigm shift in the noodles industry in Nigeria.
With three variants of noodles made from rice as opposed to wheat and fortified with essential vitamins, calavita range of noodles, when rolled into the market is expected to give existing brands a good fight.
Sir Ayade enthuses about calavita noodles: “Calavita noodles are produced from rice as opposed to wheat.And the rice is freshly home grown rice.Calavita noodles is made into three flavours-Rice, Chicken and Suya. It is a digital replacement of indomie”
The Governor, by embarking on a massive Industrialisation drive across the state aims at broadening the frontiers of its economy.This, way Cross River is being gradually decoupled from mono economy- the monthly federal allocation.
It is on the basis of the above that through calavita noodles, the state hopes to get a prime share of the #280 billion federal government has set aside for the school feed programme.
This prospect excites Sir Ayade.His words: “This food processing plant we have here in Calabar is an off shoot of a policy statement from President Muhammadu Buhari as regardd the school feed programme.
When I saw that over #200 bn was being set aside for the school feed programme, I decided to focus on those critical raw materials used for the programme- egg, rice, chicken, banana.We have a poultry farm , we have the Calachika Chiken processing plant and so on.And of course this ultra modern food factory.
I want to see how Cross River will take part of the school feed budget.If you have #280bn to feed school children,can’t I as a businessman that I was before I became governor sit back and think how to get part of the budget? It’s against this backdrop that you have this integrated food factory here today”.
Poised to start production soon, experts are of opinion that Sir Ayade’s aggressive Industrialisation policy which birthed Nigeria’s first ever integrated food process factory in the state is a huge boost to the Agricultural value chain aspect of that policy and by extension Cross River economy.
As they say in Calabar, Sir Ayade is indeed “Show Walking” his grit determination to reinvent Cross River.
Chidi Onyemaizu is SA Print Media to Governor