In this chat with Ika Weekly reporter, Nicholas Ebegboni, Mr. Christian Paul Egilewe a 25 year old Alifekede indigene, a software computer Engineer who is the co-owner of Chris – Ray Danicious Foods speaks on his desire to introduce natural preservatives method in the rural communities to enable farmers benefit more from their labour as he decry farmers loss due to lack of preservation of their produce which make them to sell at give away prices during harvest period while some of these produce are scarce and very expensive during a particular period of the year.
He laments that the state government is not doing enough to encourage entrepreneurship as most of the programmes initiated by the government have the slot for beneficiaries divided among politicians and are used to settle those who ran errands for them during electioneering, as he claims those beneficiaries most times are not interested in the business they are given starter packs for.
May We Meet You ?
I am Christian Paul Egilewe, I hail from Alifekede, Agbor, Ika South L.G.A of Delta State. I am 25 years old and holds a diploma certificate in Software Computer Engineering, Advance Certificate in Information Technology but right now I am into business, co-founder of Chris – Ray Danicious Foods
What is Chris – Ray Danicious Food All About ?
The company is a food base firm which measures up in food production, converting Agricultural products into finished goods for food manufacturing and processing
Mr. Christian Paul Egilewe, what are your Experiences in so far your Business Venture?
One of the reasons I ventured into this business was that I discovered that due to lack of preservation of farm produce, most of those in the rural areas sell off their produce at give away prices thereby remaining poor. But, if they have a way of preserving their produce, they will earn more and have better lives. I have been in a discussion with an Australian based company to see how they can bring in some preservative machines.
During the time of harvest farmers harvest bounteous farm produce and in order for the goods not to perish, they sell them off at a very cheap rate and after that period of the year, such produce are not seen in the market. One of the advantages of preserving these produce is to make them available at all times. Some farm produce can be preserved for a long period of time, such as yam, rice and beans. But then even the chemical used for beans preservation is not good for human consumption as it is inimical to human health.
For instance in a particular time of the year when okra is harvested, a full basket can be sold for N200 but when the product becomes scarce, a basket will be sold for more than N8,000. If the product is naturally preserved, let’s say the cost of preservation is between N1000 to N1,500, when the farmer sells at that point, the farmer makes more than 200% profit of what he or she would have made at the initial stage.
Presently, the company is into food packaging, we produce and package plantain and potato chips but we intend venturing into other areas soon. We are constrained financially at the moment we are trying to register with the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). The company has a long term vision, for instance after the required registration formalities, one of the areas we intend to venture into is to harness the advantages of bye – products of cassava.
There are a lot of uses for cassava bye products, there is no waste in cassava processing which the farmers are not aware of it. The cassava peels are used for animal feeding, the rudiments after filtration can be used for starch and other products.
You organised an economic summit sometime last year in your community, what was your experience like?
The target of the economic summit were the youths, our aim was to disabuse the minds of the youths from some certain beliefs.
We intended to enlighten them and reveal the gains in taking advantage of their youthfulness and intelligence and convert their environment to their advantage. The summit was also intended to be an annual event. Alifekede is an agricultural community and as youths there is the need to take advantage of it to better ourselves instead of waiting for white collar jobs or running away to distant lands to seek greener pastures when opportunities abound.
Some weeks ago my mother told me how a parent was using what was taught during the summit to advise her daughter
Organising the summit was not an easy task as it was almost truncated some politicians in the community who were asking who I was to organise such an event.
I remember inviting one of the governor’s aides who hails from Ika North East and he asked me if he was from my local government for me to invite him. The dichotomy between Ika South and Ika North East is very unfortunate most especially between Agbor and Owa. The people need to know that we are one and should stop this segregation.
Another reason for the summit was to draw government attention to the situation on ground but those invited sent representatives and even some of the representatives sent did not come, they gave one excuse or the other, though residents of the community attended which was a plus for the event.
Mr. Christian Paul Egilewe, aside Your Company Are You into Humanitarian Services
Yes, I run a Non – Governmental Organisation (NGO) “Keep Ika clean initiative” which although is not operational for now due to some circumstances we are not operating. I am the 2019. Peace Ambassador for an International, African Youth Talent Summit because of my activities and voluntary services. I am the Vice President South-South Zone Peace Building Foundation; a national organisation with headquarters in Yobe State.
To be continued….