Monday, August 29, 2016 12:02 am
All roads lead to Benin, Edo state, on Monday as Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo leads some members of the Federal Executive Council, diplomats and captains of industries to the groundbreaking ceremony of the $100 million
The project which has capacity to generate 10,000 direct jobs, with a completion period of between 18 and 24 months, is combination of industrial park, farm settlement and commodities exchange and is being championed by a renowned political economist, Pat Utomi.
Osinbajo who is the special guest of honour at the event, is expected to be accompanied by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah and Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole.
A statement signed by Vitus Akudinobi, Executive Director of Integrated Produce City, said the agricultural initiative is geared towards the production and processing cluster of agricultural products.
As explained in the statement, the project will drastically reduce waste, increase agriculture value addition, increase income for farmers, and create jobs while reducing the price of food in local markets and growing foreign exchange earnings for the economy.
The initiative which is in partnership with foreign investors, has already resulted in Paras Energy signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) for the construction of a 25 Megawatts modular power plant in the first phase as well as MoU with another foreign water company to service the city .
“The facility located in more than 200 hectares with additional tracts of land; will include a trading field to which farmers from Ondo, Ekiti, Kogi, Edo, Delta and Anambra states will auction their produce.
“Buyers such as supermarket owners, manufacturers and hotels who will have warehouses in the estate; would move acquired produce immediately to their warehouses, just as manufacturers located in the estate.
“Preservation facilities ranging from silos, sun drying facilities and cold and normal storage facilities on the Estate, will receive whatever is not sold immediately, ensuring little or no waste occurs.
“The Business model the first two model farms to be located within the produce city have committed to an out grower scheme that will provide Extension support and price assurance to select cooperatives of farmers in Edo and in the adjoining states”, the statement said.
It commended the Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomole for his vision in facilitating the location of the Integrated Produce City in Edo State, just as it disclosed that two other IPC locations are planned for Oyo State and Niger State to service the Lagos Ibadan megalopolis and the metropolis of Abuja.
The statement further revealed that one of the segments of the project, the Snail-House Integrated and Out- Growers Farms Ltd, will champion snail farming in Edo State through the out-grower scheme as well as deepen the value chain for export and local consumption, adding that the snail shells would be processed for their calcium content, and the slime for cosmetics manufacturing, among others.