C’River Set to Inaugurate 30,0000 Tons Cocoa Processing Plant




The Governor of Cross River State, Professor Ben Ayade, has announced that the 30,000 tonnes per annum cocoa processing plant in Ikom, Central Cross River State which is currently under construction will be completed and commissioned soon.

A visibly elated Ayade made the announcement in reaction to the recent delivery of equipment for the plant, which he said would provide employment opportunities when it becomes operational.
“I am really impressed. As you can see, intellectual money is on display here. From what I have seen, the contractors deserve excellent pats on the back. This is what we call commitment and consistency,” Ayade said while inspecting ongoing work at the plant.

Ayade said the plant was configured with the capacity to process cocoa beans to chocolate bars.
“Again, we are going to be the first in Africa as this is the first cocoa processing plant that will process cocoa beans to chocolate,” the governor said.

Ayade said with the delivery of the equipment, his vision for cocoa revolution in the state was crystalising.
The governor said the plant would bring about value-chain addition to cocoa, which will ultimately enrich cocoa farmers in the state.
“This is the spirit of intellectual money and Cross River ultimately will be proud that I knew where I was going from the beginning.

“I am following an agenda that at the end of my eight years in office, when every single citizen of the state remembers my days, he or she will say this young man had a great vision.
“For all the years gone by Cross River has been producing cocoa for other states to bear the name because we did not have an off-take mechanism, we did not have a programme by government to buy off the cocoa at good rates. So, outsiders used to come in and buy the cocoa from us and grade it as cocoa from their own state,”Ayade said.

He said the plant would offer cocoa farmers in the state, “the opportunity, platform and industry to process their own cocoa, giving a premium value for money. A cocoa house is going to be built here. Once you have a cocoa farm, you just come here, collect money during harvest, we take your cocoa, so you have money for the product and you don’t have to go to bank to get a loan.”


C/River State inaugurates Public Health Emergency Centre


The Cross River State Government has inaugurated its Public Health Emergency Operations Centre to curb emerging disease outbreaks and rising cases of drug abuse in the state.

Inaugurating the centre in Calabar, Professor Ivara Esu, the Acting Governor of the state, said the centre was established to be proactive in responding to emerging communicable diseases.

Esu said the state Ministry of Health and the Primary Healthcare Development Agency had been on the fore-front in ensuring the prevention and control of disease outbreaks in the state.

According to him, the state had witnessed drastic reduction in the maternal and child mortality rate, adding that the Governor Ben Ayade-led administration places premium on the healthcare of residents.

“Today, we are gathered here to commission the Public Health Emergency Operations Centre which will be another first in the state and the South-South region.

“This centre will breach the gap between the local government areas, states, national and international information surveillance system and accelerate response and intervention.

“Recently, we launched the Cross River Health Insurance Scheme, while our health centres have witnessed a massive revitalisation and our school of nursing has taken off.

We have also done the second round of immunisation for children of school age against diseases across the state,’’ he said.

Dr Inyang Asibong, the state Commissioner for Health, said that Cross River was strategically linked with international communities through air, land borders and waterways, hence the need for the centre.

Asibong said that the state currently harbours over 20,000 asylum seekers from Cameroon, being a migration gateway, which exposes residents to high risk of communicable and infectious diseases.

She said that the centre would be upgraded to run as programmed, the state will also move into the next phase of re-designing health emergencies.

“The Cross River Ministry of Heath has a robust strategic health plan with inputs from development partners to cater for our pressing challenges in healthcare delivery system.

“I desire to see a centre that is fully committed to accepting full responsibilities for its action; a centre that goes beyond a unit,’’ she said.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the National Coordinator, Centre for Disease Control, said that Cross River was witnessing another phase of transformation in the health sector.

Ihekweazu said that the centre would serve as a platform where development partners, stakeholders and relevant agencies would come together to brainstorm and promote the health of the people.

He commended the state government for responding timely to previous cases of disease outbreaks in the state.