Posted on April 9, 2018
The Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has concluded plans to partner Heritage Agro-Allied (H2A) Foods and Elephant Group Plc, to cultivate a $6 million 1,155-hectare cassava farm and start a food processing facility, as part of efforts to promote agricultural development in the state.
Obaseki, who stated this when senior executive officers of the two firms paid him a courtesy visit to the Government House in Benin City, the Edo State capital, said the partnership with the H2A Foods and Elephant Group Plc will enable the state government achieve its promise to create 200,000 jobs within four years, especially through agricultural development.
According to him, the cassava project is a model for job creation for the large number of unemployed youths in the state. He said the state government will ensure supply of the required infrastructure for the collaboration, and will fund the project through the construction of roads to link the farms for easy evacuation of cassava produce.
He added: “We will also facilitate provision of electricity for the cassava processing plant through the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC).”
The Chief Executive Officer, H2A Foods, Dr. Tony Bello, who spoke on behalf of the group, said: “About 420 cassava farmers drawn from the three senatorial districts in the state would be engaged in the pilot scheme of the project. We have set a target to produce 20 tonnes of cassava per hectare.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), through the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) and the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), is ready to invest about N214 million in the project.”
He explained: “On our part, we are investing about $6 million in cassava transformation for staple foods in Edo State. This will enable us process cassava into value-added nutritious foods. The products will target local and foreign markets.In the first phase, we will begin with 850 hectares out of the 1,155 hectares. We expect that the state government will engage at least 100 agriprenuers in Edo State to actualise the project,” he explained.