Ijan Ekiti in Gbonyin Local Government Area of Ekiti State is an agrarian community where people are predominantly farmers. It is also blessed with prominent sons and daughters both at home and in the Diaspora among whom is Engr. Olajide Ijadare, who is based in the United States of America. He plans to boost palm oil production in the community and Nigeria as a whole by establishing an agro- based project in Ijan Ekiti. He speaks with ADEWUMI ADEMIJU
What prompted you to bring the project down to Ijan and not Ado-Ekiti, the state capital?
Well, as I have said, I was born and bred in Ijan-Ekiti. We are endowed with too much in agriculture here and coming back from the US, after many years, I saw how my people are trying to make ends meet but stuck in old ways of production. We are not tapping the God’s given endowments as much as we should. There’s no mechanisation introduced after so many years of promises.
So, for that simple reason, I decided to locate this particular factory in Ijan-Ekiti, my home town and for the benefit of the peasant farmers, who happened to be the backbone of everyone of us that came out of the town either by sending us to school up to secondary, before scholarship or toiled to sponsor ourselves to achieve educational qualification that you can think of.
I commenced the project in my community to industrialise and uplift Ijan-Ekiti, Yoruba land and Nigeria. As Ijan is today, we have no electricity. We have no pipe borne water, and our hospital is dilapidated. So, it requires doing little by little. In criticism, I can criticise till tomorrow but that won’t fetch my people anything. I’m just trying to give back to the society that has been very supportive of those of us that grew up in the town. So that the future generation will understand that we can do this on our own. We don’t need to wait for anybody either from the foreign land or big cities to do it. That’s why the factory is sited in Ijan.
What are the facilities already on ground to take off with?
In the factory, we have 500 metric ton crude Palm Oil Storage Tank. We also have 500,000 litres, 100,000 storage for refined Olein. We also have the weigh bridge that will be weighing the palm oil tanker trucks that would be coming in to deposit or sell Palm oil to us. We also have our own 10,000 litre tanker truck for the distribution of our products. Our products are going to be refined palm Oil and to be shipped out to our customers in Lagos. By the time we get to the third or fourth month, we will plan on exporting 50 per cent of our products to generate hard currency.
Also, there’s a weigh bridge house that will be equipped with the 21st century computer systems that display the weight of incoming Crude Palm Oil. Upon arrival, they would mount the weighing bridge before offloading to our 500 empty storage tank. On their departure, they would also weigh out and the weight would be subtracted from what they brought in. All would be displayed on the system; they would see it and invoices, payment vouchers and receipts would be issued to them from the weigh bridge house.
There’s gate house which will serve as a means of security to ensure that all access given and exits are timed, monitored and recorded. We expect little or no disturbances. However, we are going to have armed guards.
What number of workers are you looking forward to having for a start?
Initially, when we begin operation, God willing in June, this year, we would have up to 50 staff members. Forty of them will be skilled because the factory will run to produce maximally. We are going to run three shifts and everyone that will be working here would be highly skilled and qualified professional.
What’s the economic implication of the project for the community and Ekiti State as a whole?
The main objective of this establishment is to spur economic condition of the underdeveloped enterprises of Ijan-Ekiti, and Ekiti State. No less than 300 jobs would have been created indirectly from the use of inputs for plantation management; process machines and allied equipment operation and management, services to staff and customers, transportation, etc. Other downstream job opportunities are cumulatively projected at over 400. So far, about 230,275,000 has been committed into this project and still more to be pumped.
How much on the average, how much are you projecting the business to generate for the community and state as a whole?
The company expects annual turnover average of 1,000,800,000.00, one billion and eight hundred thousand Naira.
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