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Food Processing Sector Can Replace Oil In Nigeria – NASSI

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Chief Executive Officer,
Spectra Foods Ltd, Chief Duro Kuteyi,  said yesterday in Lagos that the food processing business can replace oil in Nigeria.
Kuteyi, who is also the South-West Chairman of the Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI), said this in an interview with The Tide source in Lagos yesterday.
He urged the Federal Government to monitor the activities of the development banks and the research institutes, in order to appraise the extent of the government’s efforts in supporting local food processors.
“Food processing in Nigeria is a viable business but there were too many challenges plaguing the sub-sector from lack of funds, market share, and also electricity supply.
“With adequate government support, we believe that the number of food processors in the country would have been doubled by the end of this year.
“The increase in the volume of the middle-class is causing the tastes and eating styles of Nigerians to change into a more convenient way of eating and they are also becoming more health-conscious.
“When you go to the malls today, people prefer to pick pre-packaged or pre-cooked food items, due to their busy schedules, while some even opt for home delivery.
“There is a lot of wastage of farm produce due to lack of adequate storage facilities, and this costs the nation billions of naira. Processing can help to reduce the level of wastage, so I dare to say that food processing is the new oil.
“The government should also endeavour to monitor the activities of the research institutes like the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), where there are countless research results on food and industrial items.
“Also, for the development banks like the Bank of Industry, where so many intervention funds have been channelled to, the government should ensure proper monitoring of such funds, so that it can be accessed by the people who truly need them,” he said.
Kuteyi also said that most of the packaged processed food items on Nigerian shelves are imported, which spells doom for the economy, should the trend of massive importation continue.
He said that given all necessary support, local manufacturers and food processors would be able to meet up with the standards of food packaging as most of them were already certified by the regulatory bodies.
Kuteyi said that millions of jobs could be created in the food processing value chain.
The changes in the tastes of the average Nigerian have brought about an increase in the demand for processing and packaging products.
A German Engineering Association, VDMA, in 2014 stated that Nigerian imports of food processing and packaging technology between 2010 and 2012, have increased from 198 million Euros to 275 million Euros,, an increase of 39 per cent.
In the same period, imports of agricultural machinery and equipment went up from 46 million Euros to 62 million Euros.
According to the PCI Film, a consulting firm, the Nigeria’s packaging industry has been growing at the rate of 12 per cent annually in the last five years.
The growth may be linked to the increasing demand for packaged food and cosmetic items.

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More Youths Engage In Artisanal Refining

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As unemployment bites harder amidst rising cost of living, more youths in rural communities in Rivers State are now going into artisanal refining business to earn a living.
The Tide reliably gathered that some youths residing in Port Harcourt City were gradually moving to rural communities for bunkering business otherwise known as ‘kpo-fire’ 
Narrating his experience to The Tide, Mr Godwin Ibeneme who resides in Rumuekini in Akpor, said he was introduced into the kpor-fire business by his father.
Ibeneme, who hails from Ibaa/ Obelle area of Emohua Local Government Area, said his father compelled him to join other youths who were thriving in the business in the community.
“My father came to my house here in Rumuekini, and told me to come to the village, that other young men are making it through kpo-fire’ bunkering since I have lost my job.
“ I didn’t waste time to give it a trial, because I had really looked for what to do, since I lost my job at a fast-food company. Since then, I can tell you that I have been taking care of myself, unlike before when everything looked hopeless”, he explained.
The Tide also learnt that the kpo-fire’ business was currently thriving in Isiokpo axis of Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
A resident of the community who pleaded anonymity, told The Tide that there was a high level of discrimination in the business.
According to him, he decided to engage himself at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, to hustle for his daily bread, instead of staying idle.
The Tide recalls that the Federal Government had promised to build modular refineries in the Niger Delta region since 2019 as an alternative to illegal oil bunkering in the region as well as to create employment for the youth. 
The Tide also reports that three years after the promise was made, nothing has been done in that regard.

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Oyigbo Cassava Plant, Legacy Project   -Akawor

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The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Amb. Desmond Akawor, says the cassava plant project, being executed by the Rivers State Government in Oyigbo is a legacy project that will generate huge employment for Rivers people.
He said the project was well thought out and would stand the test of time to tackle unemployment as well as ensure food availability in the state.
Akawor made the remarks during an interaction with journalists at the weekend in Port Harcourt.
According to him, the cassava plant which was supposed to be executed by the previous administrations, was initially planned to be a joint venture between the state government and some organisations, but that the other partners did not pay their counterpart funding.
“The steps taken by the Wike-led administration to bring this project to life without the counterpart funding is commendable, because of the huge economic benefits it will give to the state.
“Many people have also been employed at the construction sites of flyovers being executed by Julius Berger. Eighty percent of those working there are indigenes, while the company provides the expatriates”, he said.
The  PDP chairman also hinted on the plans of the state government to privatise the Buguma fish farm and banana farm, among others, so as to make them more viable.
He said that the state government had not abandoned the projects initiated by the previous administration, but was thinking on what to do with them. 
Akawor maintained that the employment of 5,000 persons into the civil service was still ongoing, saying the government is only taking time to ensure that indigenes of the state are employed.

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PH Airport Resumes Skeletal International Flight Operations

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Skeletal flight operations have resumed at the international wing of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
This follows the lifting of the curfew that was imposed in the state by the Rivers State Government to check cases of insecurity in the state.
The Tide’s checks show that many of the airlines that operate international flights are yet to resume flight operations, even though the coast is clear for them to resume operations.
The Cronaux Airline, it was gathered, is the only airline at the moment that has fully resumed international flight.
Other airlines that operate at the international wing, like the Lufthansa Airline, Turkish Airline, and Ethiopian Airline are yet to resume operations. 
The Acting Head of Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Kunle Akinbode, confirmed the resumption of international flight operations at the airport, last Friday, saying the international wing is now open for international airlines to operate.
He explained that the curfew that was imposed in the state delayed the resumption of international flights operations, even when issues of Covid-19 standard protocols had been addressed.
“Now that the curfew is over and the international wing is open for flight operations, it is left for each of the airlines to work out its own schedule for operations.
“It will not be the duty of the airport management to sort things out for them and know when to resume. I know that some have started. Lufthansa has said they will resume next month, August”, Akinbode said.
The Tide reports that the international wing of the Port Harcourt Airport had been shut since the Covid-19 lockdown, and did not reopen when other international airports in Lagos, Abuja and Kano among others reopened for international operations.

Stories by Corlins Walter

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