The people of both Okai and Amokwe Item in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State are in a joyous mood as Dufil Prima Food Plc, maker of Indomie Noodles, has laid the foundation stone for the building of a vegetable oil refining industry in the two communities.
It is a known fact that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had given a time limit to all companies that use refined vegetable oil as raw materials, to cease forthwith on its importation from Malaysia after the grace period which will soon expire.
The directive by the CBN also advised such affected industries to either set up plants locally to produce their raw materials or in the alternative source same from within, this had made the Dufil Prima Foods Plc to seek out Item for their factory. Speaking at Amokwe Item during the sword turning ceremony for the two factory sites, the President-General (PG) of Item Development Association (IDA) Chief Kingsley Ogba Nwokoro said that Item people are happy with the company for siting their project in their place.
Nwokoro said that with the coming of the company into Item that the people will support them and ensure that they and their materials will be given all the security and protection they require to succeed.
The PG said that their coming into Item will go a long way to ensure that Item has a pride of place in the comity of communities that could be counted as being one of those that has gone into modern day production of refined vegetable oil.
He said, “With the coming into our communities by Dufil Prima Foods Plc, makers of renowned Indomie noodles and power oil, we will be more known as one of the leading communities in the country were vegetable oil is produced in commercial quantity”.
“It could be recalled that palm industry is one of the main businesses the people of Item are well known for, as our people had embraced palm oil since ages and which could be rightly described as our heritage, we have demonstrated a great deal of resilience and mastery with a huge deal of investment and success in that area”.
“Historically, the palm industry has been the source of wealth and progress of the people of Item as we have developed skills in managing and promoting this precious resource and invested a great deal in it before the advent of crude and petroleum oil”.
“As far back as 50s, Item people who dealt in palm oil organised themselves into a cooperative society called ‘Item Merchants’ who were noted for the wealth and success this produce can give”.
“Item people were also known to have produced renowned merchants in produce business such as late Chief Ugoji Eke, Elder Egesi Akwari among others while the foremost produce inspector of the Eastern Region Sir Herbert Ukaegbu Osoka was from here”.
Nwokoro thanked the initiator of the project and proud daughter of Item, Mrs Nnenna Ejekam, who he said leveraged in her many years of cordial relationship with the organisation and worked assiduously to convince them to invest in her homeland.
He used the forum to confer on three directors of the organisation Item Merit Award as a way of extending the warm traditional reception of Item Okpi people to the organisation and also to show the preparedness, “Of our people to partner them and assured them of the safety of their investment in our homeland”.
In her response at the occasion, Ejekam said the last days of 2018 could be said to be the best period for the people of Item as it is the dawn of new era which will boost palm tree and its oil which has been the wealth of the community.
Ejekam said that with the ground breaking ceremony by Dufil Prima Foods Plc, “It will eliminate poverty, criminality and make the youths to be gainfully employed and also bring wealth for the people of Item.
She told the people of both Okai and Amokwe Item communities that the organisation is the maker of Indomie noodles and power oil, stressing that the project has three sides such as acquiring virgin land, the mill and leasing of palm trees from communities.
The legal practitioner said that before their own palm trees will start fruiting that they will be using the leased palm trees from the communities in Item to service the oil mill and urged the people to ensure adequate security for the mill and its workers.
The high point of the ceremony was the ward of Item Merit Award on the three directors of Dufill Prima Food Plc which include Chief Operating Officer, Madhukar Khetan; Executive Director Production, Adhi Narto and Lim Saradosa including Mrs. Nnenna Ejekam.