It is no news that the people of Akwa Ibom State can today boast of an indigenous edible flour producing Mill in Mkpok-Okad, Onna. What is news however is the latent potentials inherent in the 4.892m2 of closed area and 47.406m2 of open area factory.The Flour Mill which has production capacity of 400 metric tonnes of flour and 500 metric tonnes of wheat is at the moment employing over 1000 indigenous workers and is equipped with world-class facilities to enable it supercede the production abilities of similar industries around the world.
Birthed in 2017 upon the promises of Governor Udom Emmanuel, the Kings Flour Mill as described by international assessors is the biggest flour producer in Europe hence, its location in Akwa Ibom justifies the claim that Governor Emmanuel’s investor-friendly policies and investment in peace and security are not mere talks but calculated and conscious attempts at transforming the state into an enviable industrial hub within the Gulf of Guinea.
Due to its multi usage ability, Flour is considered a multi-million naira generating commodity while a flour mill resonates in billions of currencies. For instance, Flour is used for baking but not on its own in entirety. Its accompaniments could be a combination of Rising Agents such as Yeast; Butter, Wheat, Fats, Milk, Cream, Salt, Water, Sugar and other Sweeteners.
When combined with any or more of the above mentioned, flour becomes bread, cake, pasta, noodles, wheat, biscuit, oat, Semolina, pies and varieties of snacks. Asides these production abilities, the flour mill creates a viable platform for the supply of packaging materials for any of its end products.Be it paper bags, cartons, boxes, nylons and polyesters, the Mill cannot have enough packaging materials given the consistent rebranding policy of consumer goods manufacturing industries hence, this aspect alone is a money-spinning adventure.Another latent potential of a Flour Mill is in the supply of the factory produce to nearby and extended markets.
It would be agreed that one of the reasons for the low patronage of the Kings Flour is first in the proximity of the factory to the market which in itself is the reason it is not much seen and purchased in the local and national markets.This is perhaps one of the reasons a singular Flour has dominated the market – availability of the commodity at all times.
It is for these bountiful benefits of a Four Mill the Managing Director, Olam Grains, owners of Crown Flour Mills Limited, Anurag Shukla once noted that the industry in Nigeria generates about 10 million jobs annually and has the potential to further diversify the country’s economy.
“This is because when the wheat is produced, we make flour, the flour is being consumed by the biscuit sector and other bakers”. “There are almost 300,000 bakers across the country and they convert the flour into bread and then there are distributors and hawkers who carry the bread to the final consumers. So these are employment or jobs that are generated.”Shukla added, “Also we have about four million tonnes of flour moving from the Southern part of Nigeria to the Northern region and this generates employment and business in the transport sector as well. Now this is only for bread flour, and we have biscuit, noodles and pasta sectors”.“So basically, when you put all these sectors together you will get about 10 million people employed in one way or the other in the wheat or flour mill industry. Also, this is because what we produce is not a finished product but a raw material for people in other sectors.”It therefore behooves on the people of Akwa Ibom to key into this money-spinning venture and enrich themselves and thus, help increase the State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
Be it through the sales of Flour accompaniments mentioned earlier, transporting of the finished produce or supply of packaging materials, Akwa Ibomites can be part of the employment process as any of these opportunities would result in the recruitment of more hands to ensure effectiveness.
By so doing, the aim of the Governor-Udom Emmanuel led administration would have been accomplished and Akwa Ibom would be that envisaged industrial hub of Nigeria.