…Project to engage in value-addition processing
Ben Eguzozie, in Port Harcourt
Delta State is off with an Agro-Industrial Park that would drive value-addition in agriculture in the state.
The state government, the main developer of the project, sited in Ogwashi-Uku, Aniocha South local council of the state, said it would greatly enhance the agricultural value-chain in the state when completed.
According to Eric Eboh, the chairman of the project’s implementation committee, the project would create a one-stop shop for all agro-processing in the state.
But the project, sited on 220 hectares of land, and which was slated to be completed in 18 months after it was started, has suffered huge setback since it was started in late 2018. Today, Eboh says Covid-19 was part of the causes for its setback.
Now the government is resuming activity at the site which will have a rice plant, laboratories for quality control, warehouses, commercial plots, rice farm, sewage treatment and oxidation pool, among others. The presence of a lake is also a dominant factor for the choice of the project’s site, as the lake is expected to sustain the project all year round with its potentials of generating electricity.
Eboh, who is known as the Chief Job and Wealth Creation Officer of Delta, explained that the incoming agro-industrial park has dedicated infrastructure to take care of agro-industrial services; and the sustainability of the project was assured.
Although, the project is being developed by Delta government, Eboh says it would be entirely private sector driven with a 3-step ownership: the state government having 40 per cent equity holding, MIRAI Agro Resources 30 per cent, and Northsworthy Limited 30 per cent.
“This is a project that its continuity is assured; it is confirmed to be self-sustaining, economically viable, and it has been validated by foreign banks. When fully established, the agricultural value-chain in Delta State will be greatly enhanced, “he said.
He also said the project conforms with the state government’s plans to develop the agricultural value-chain in the state. “In relation to the overall plan of this project, Agro- Industrial Park is one of the major programmes of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa. This project is supposed to serve as a game-changer in the Delta State’s agro industrialization.”
Governor Okowa is trying to create a one-stop shop for agro processing industry, an infrastructural safe operating space where agro industries can collocate, process agricultural commodities to different types of products for domestic consumption and export, he stated.
Kester Ifeadi, project consultant to the state government on the agro-industrial park, said the project began three years ago, and had gone through thorough feasibility studies before the site was confirmed suitable for the project. But now he’s reaffirming the government’s commitment to timely complete the project. He expressed confidence that the contracting construction firm was competent, and experienced to execute the project according to specification.