Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, has said the establishment of the Cross River Integrated Food Factory was inspired by the Federal Government’s school feeding programme.
The governor, who was fielding questions from newsmen after a tour of the facility located at the Industrial Park in Calabar, disclosed that the factory will produce Calavita range of nutritious instant noodles made from home grown rice targeted at getting Cross River a share of the N280 billion set aside by the Federal Government for the school feeding programme.
“This food processing plant you have here in Calabar is an off-shoot of President Muhammadu Buhari’s school feeding programme.
“The programme is intended to encourage children to stay in school. The World Bank statistics of out of school children in Nigeria is alarming and part of the strategic action plan to encourage children to go to school is to provide food while in school,” the governor said.
He said Cross River stands to benefit from the sum set aside for the programme through the numerous industries he has established since coming into office in 2015, including the integrated food factory.
“When I saw that over N200 billion was being set aside for the school feeding programme, I decided to focus on those critical raw materials used for the programme- egg, rice, chicken and banana. We have a poultry farm, we have the Calachika Chicken 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 feeding programme budget. It is against this backdrop that you have this integrated food factory here today,” Ayade said.
The governor said he has breathed life into President Buhari’s policy statement on food value chain and appealed for reciprocity by the way of Federal Government’s patronage.
“The president has even made it a lot easy for me by instructing the Central Bank to stop giving forex to food importers. I like to say the president has shown consistency in this direction.
“I have decided to breathe life into his policy statement. I have given it energy, I have given it kinetics. In Calabar, we call it, ‘Show Walking’. We are show walking the president’s policy statement.
“We therefore, seek his support. Let the Federal Government place orders for our instant noodles; it comes in so many nutritious variants, including a minute to go rice. We have eggs, we have chicken,” Governor Ayade said.