The Federal Government has inaugurated a multi-million naira cassava processing plant in Nkalagu, Ebonyi State.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnia Onu, who inaugurated the project on Monday in Nkalagu, Ebonyi, said that the industry would generate employment for youths and women of the area.
Onu who was on a facility tour of some Federal Government projects in the state, described the project as laudable and would produce 10 different products from cassava materials.
The factory is built at a cost of over N100 million.
He said: “The factory will produce items such as starch, garri, cassava flour, mushroom, glue gum, among others.’’
According to the minister, the cassava factory will help develop and promote entrepreneurship in the area, state and the country in general.
Onu said: “The industry will be of tremendous importance to the growth of agriculture and encourage food security in the country.
“It will also boost the country’s foreign reserves, while bread baked from the cassava flour would have immense health benefits.’’
The minister noted that the factory was a landmark toward the development and empowerment of women and youths and would ensure that raw materials were of immense value to the community and state.
Onu noted that raw materials from cassava would be transformed into various industrial uses.
The minister, however, urged the community to jealously safeguard the factory in order to attract more federal presence in the area.
The Director-General, Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi, Prof. Gloria Elemo, described the project as laudable, saying that cassava and the by-products would be put into various uses.
She said that the products could be used for industrial purposes and for export value.
She said: “Garri processed in the factory would have local and international benefits.
“The industry would also act as a training ground for the women and youths and is expected to save the country about N163 billion.’’
Elemo noted that the country had never had it so good in the area of science and technology until now.
“Science and Technology have the capacity of moving any country to industrial level.
She said: “Many Western countries had used science and technology to add value and change their countries.”
The traditional ruler of Nkalagu community, Eze Mathias Nnaji, expressed appreciation of the Federal Government’s approval and siting of the industry in Nkalagu.
Nnaji, however, pleaded that sons and daughters of the community should be considered for employment in the factory in order to encourage them to embark on cassava farming feeds in the factory.
NAN reports that the minister and his entourage also inspected the school laboratory embarked upon by the National Board for Technical Education where he gave them a matching order to complete the project.