Owerri(Imo) – Farmers in Umuehihe Village in Okwu Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo have commended the Federal Government for establishing a palm oil processing factory in their village.
The farmers said this in separate interviews, on the sideline of the project’s inauguration on Friday in Ikeduru, Owerri.
NAN reports that Minister of state, Niger Delta Affairs Prof. Claudius Omoleye, inaugurated the project in the village.
Mr Fidelis Ewurum, a farmer who deals in palm trees said that the project would go a long way in alleviating the suffering of the people most of whom he said were palm oil producers.
He explained that the manual method of producing palm oil would soon be a thing of the past, as oil production would be easier with the sitting of the factory in the area.
“We are very happy for this factory, all we need to do now is to harvest our palm fruits, bring them to the factory and produce our oil mechanically with a lot of ease.
“Before, if we cut the palms ,we used our legs to process and we lost a lot of oil in that process, but with this factory we will make more money because more oil would be saved.
“It will also help all our youths to be busy in the village instead of idling about.
“We thank God for our son, Ndubuisi Osuji, who brought this project to us, it shows he has our interest at heart,” Ewurum said.
Also Mrs Priscillia Onukaogu, a dealer in palm oil, said that a lot of stress had been taken off from the shoulders oil pal producers in terms of processing palm oil.
Priscillia, who said she donated part of the land on which the project was situated, told NAN that she was happy with the sitting of the factory in the village.
She said she was willing to pay the cost of getting her palm oil produced in the factory.
“I am very happy now, I like the project, with this factory in place, I will just go to my farm bring my palm fruit here and turn it to palm oil.
‘’I sell it without stress and make more gain than before’’ she said.
Mr Ohale Okenze, the Youth Leader of the community, assured the indigenes of protection of the factory.
Okenze, who thanked the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs for constructing the project, noted that, palm produce was the greatest economic activity of the members of Umuehihe village.
“Palm is a heritage on our community, lately; our people have not been competing economically in the market due to the enormity of work required to process palm produce to finished products.
“The whole world has left us behind through technology yet, our women continued to struggle at backyards to produce oil palm for their meals as well as to sell to generate income.
“A factory of this status will bring so much relief to our women and it will also generate employment for our youths and reduce crime rate in the community,” he said.
He, however, called on the Federal Government to construct the 3-kilometer road leading to the factory for easy transportation of finished palm produce to the market.
NAN reports that the factory, Integrated Oil Palm Processing Factory was initiated by Mr Ndubuisi Osuji, Permanent Secretary, Strategy and Policy Services Office, Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.
NAN also reports that the project was later executed by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, with all the machines locally fabricated and produced in Nigeria.
NAN gathered that the machines had the capacity of producing five tonnes of palm fruits per hour. (NAN)