Ben Ayade

Cross River Industrial Revolution: Cross River Groundnut Oil Factory Bekwarra As Part Of Government Mediated Private Sector

Groundnut, or peanut, commonly called the poor man’s nut is an important oil seed and food crop for millions of people in the semi-arid tropics. It generates employment on the farm during cultivation and during processing .

A report by FAO in 2009 revealed that groundnut on an average is grown on 26.4 million hectares worldwide with a total production of 36.1 million metric tonnes, and an average yield of 1.4 metric tons/ha (FAO, 2009).

According to FAOSTAT (2011) groundnut is grown in nearly 100 countries with China, India, U.S.A, Indonesia, Nigeria, Myanmar and Sudan as major producers. Nigeria is the largest groundnut producing country in West Africa, accounting for 51% of production in the region. The country contributes 10% of total global production and 39% that of Africa. Between 1956 and 1967, groundnut was the country’s most valuable single export crop, exemplified by the famous Kano groundnut pyramids.

Groundnut is a major source of edible oil as well as livelihoods for small-scale farmers in Northern Nigeria. Being a labor-intensive crop, it generates employment for the rural poor. It is planted on about 34% 2 of total cultivated area and contributes to 23% of household cash revenue.

Groundnut products like oil and cake accounted for a significant percentage of total Nigerian export earnings. Before the fossil oil boom, groundnut was one of the major sources of revenue and foreign exchange earnings. Total production accounted for 70% of Nigeria’s total export prior to petroleum oil boom.

Groundnut is important both as a cash crop and food crop. It is the 13th most important food crop of the world and the 4th most important source of edible oil. Its seeds contain high quality edible oil (50%), 40-50% protein and 10-20% carbohydrates. Groundnut kernels are consumed directly as raw, roasted, salted or boiled forms.

However, oil is the most important product of the crop which is used for both domestic and industrial purposes. The crop is used as industrial materials for producing oil-cakes and fertilizer. All parts of the groundnut plant are used in one way or the other.

In Nigeria, the processing of groundnut into various products is mostly done by women either for home consumption or for commercial purposes (Ibrahim et al., 2005 in Ibrahim et al., 2010). The processing of groundnut is both a source of income and employment to a large proportion of rural women in northern Nigeria. Groundnut processing is basically the transformation of the primary agricultural products (raw groundnut) into other finished commodities like groundnut oil, cake and animal feed among others.

Processing of groundnut is perhaps the best area an investor can engage in with maximum utilization of the product. The milling of the product would yield edible oil which can be refined to get vegetable oil and groundnut cake which is a valuable input in the preparation of animal feed and as such can be sold to animal feed millers.

Groundnut processing notably reduces food wastage, enhances food security, improvement in livelihood of low income groups and empowerment of women especially in Nigeria where processing of groundnuts into various products is mostly done by women either for home or commercial consumption (Practical Action, 2010).

Groundnuts in Nigeria are grown in commercial quantities mostly for the extraction of their oil which is used in cooking, for biodiesel fuel, laxatives, dye, shampoo, insecticide, explosives and glue, the cake which is the by 

product of the oil extracted nut is used as an animal feed and also in the production of peanut flour.

Apart from extracting the oil content of the nuts, the nut is also commonly used as a snack and can be boiled, roasted, fried or crushed into candies, nkate cake, and kuli-kuli. Most times it is also used in place of Egusi to make a soup called “groundnut soup”, especially when dried and grounded.

Bekwarra local government is known to be the largest producer of groundnuts and indeed the best quality in Nigeria.

As part of the governor’s industrialization policy of one industry to a local government, taking advantage of the raw materials in Bekwarra, the construction of a vegetable oil processing factory is ongoing.

The vegetable oil plant which is located in Nyanya, Bekwarra Local Government area has an installed capacity of milling 12,000 litres per hour when completed.

With the abundance of the raw material in the area, the groundnut comes fresh from the farm, goes through a drying and deshelling process and further down to granulation and frying from where it goes through a pressing session to a refinery and finally it goes through the bottling line.

The quality control session is designed with a support laboratory. There is a robotic component that does a systematic check on quality. When it comes to quality control, one such task for robots is automated inspection. Compared to manual inspection, automated quality control offers significant benefits including: Improved Product Quality and reduces cost (If your business relies on delivering high quality and reliable products, any defect could spell huge losses. The problem with manual inspections is that it’s prone to human errors)

Product quality constitutes an important factor in modern flexible manufacturing systems and unmanned or partially manned manufacturing systems, robot manipulated inspection, demands automated measuring and inspection systems in order to ensure product quality.

The factory which is 95% completed engaged over a hundred people working at the site, upon completion is expected to employ over 500 of Bekwarra sons and daughters.

Ultimately, by the time the factory begins production with all the automation put in place for precision in terms of quality, every other thing is semi mechanical to allow the input of human beings.

The groundnut oil processing factory will significantly alter the economic landscape of Bekwarra and indeed Cross River. It has the potentials of launching the state into a vegetable oil exporting state, apart from hugely meeting local consumption demands

By Nate Otaba and Eval Asikong

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Posted by on Nov 24 2022. Filed under Projects. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “Cross River Industrial Revolution: Cross River Groundnut Oil Factory Bekwarra As Part Of Government Mediated Private Sector”

  1. Good work done. I appreciate you your Excellency Sir. With your industrial revolution in the state your people shall have something to fall upon.

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