The Federal Government has commissioned a cassava processing factory in Korokoro, an Ogoni community in Tai Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The people of the area speak the Tee and Baan dialects. Communities include Ban-Ogoi, Bara-Ale, Bara-Alue, Barayira, Borobara (a central community), Botem, Bunu, Deeyor Kira, Gbam, Gbene-Ue, Horo, Kebara Kira, Korokoro (the seat of the Tai monarch), Koroma, Kpite, Nonwa Tai (Kebara), Nonwa Uedume, Orkpo, Sime and Ueken. Other communities include Kporghor and Gio.
Tai Local government area has two broad sections: the Tua Tua Kingdom and the Barasi Nonwa Kingdom, both under the overall Tai kingdom headed by the Gbene Mene Tai.
The primary occupations are farming, and fishing to a lesser degree. In September 2009, Samuel Nnee was the paramount ruler of the Kpite community in the local government area.
There are many oil wells in there, which is laced with pipelines, with most of the oil installations being operated by the Anglo-Dutch oil and gas major, Shell. However, the local community has seen little benefit from oil extraction, and infrastructure is poor.
In the 1990s, the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People began a struggle against the degradation of their lands, which at times erupted into violence. In June 2001 an oil pipeline that passes through the Baraale community ruptured and spilt crude oil into nearby forests, farmlands and houses.
There were delays in repair, and in October 2001 the spilt oil caught fire, causing extensive environmental damage. The region suffers from violence, kidnapping and arson.
The Korokoro cassava processing factory is, however, through the Ministry of Environment in partnership with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), under the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP),
Environment Minister, Mohammed Abubakar, represented by the Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Marvin Dekil, during the commissioning, notes that the factory would serve as a sustainability package for training and equipping Ogoni youth with economic skills.
As a major staple crop in Africa, cassava is one of IITA’s mandate crops and is widely grown in Rivers State. The factory will help to ensure the strengthening of the crop’s value chain in the region, following a 3-month hands-on training on cassava processing and the fabrication of cassava processing machines for 15 Ogoni youth at IITA-Onne, Rivers State.
IITA carried out the training in collaboration with the Stakeholders Democracy Network (SDN) and HYPREP.
The official commissioning of the processing factory will ensure that the factory is handed over for direct running by the 15 pioneer graduates trained by IITA, after three months of the supervisory running of the factory by IITA and SDN.
The goal is for the cassava processing centre to generate income and create an economic hub for the communities through the production of garri, starch, and high-quality cassava flour (HQCF).