By Emma Una, Calabar
Cross River Cocoa Processing Factory located in Ikom is scheduled to begin a test run early next year following ninety-five percent work completion by the contracting firm A A Universal
This was disclosed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Pastor Godsgift Ugbe who undertook an inspection visit to the factory on Wednesday
He processes are being put in place including the procurement and testing of the cocoa beans for test running to take place which will herald the subsequent commissioning of the factory.
The Permanent Secretary said the factory which is the biggest in the subregion will process ten tons of cocoa per hour and add value to the crop to make it meet international standard.
“Prior to this, cocoa which has been a cash crop has not attained the maximum value in this environment to both the framers and marketers participating in the cultivation and sale of the crop that is the reason the state government thought it wise to establish this factory which will go a long way in improving the value per each yield”.
Ugbe said the state produces enough cocoa to feed the factory for steady maximum processing of cocoa into quality chocolate bars, beverages, and alcoholic items.
” There is enough cocoa in the state as both the central and northern parts of the state produces the crop and there are many government-owned cocoa estates which churn out huge volumes of cocoa annually to feed the factory “.
He said plans are afoot by the requisite ministries to begin the recruitment of necessary staff to handle both the factory and administrative work at the factory.