…45,000hectares allocated for oil palm production
…investment to create 200,000 jobs
In a bid to boost oil palm production in Edo State, the State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has signed a Memorandum of Understanding worth N100bn with seven oil palm investors under the Edo State Oil Palm Programme Investors Group (ESOPP).
The step is seen as a drive to boost the state’s agricultural capacity.
Present at the signing of the deal at the state’s Government House, Benin city were the Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie Esq. and the State Solicitor General, Oluwole Iyamu SAN, among others.
While speaking at the signing ceremony, Gov. Obaseki appreciated the move by the investors saying that his government was determined to provide an enabling environment for investments to thrive.
He said, “We thank all of you for the interest you have in partnering with us in Edo State to fulfill our mandate under the ESOPP, designed to boost agricultural production in Edo State.
“This journey started a while ago, but today’s event marked the beginning where allottees will take over the plots allocated to them to cultivate oil palm in the state.
“This exercise today, which involves the signing of 45,000 hectares of land to about seven companies for the purpose of cultivation of oil palm will make Edo one of the largest, if not the largest oil producing state in Nigeria. This is the first phase. And the second phase, which we hope will be concluded this year, will be about the same size of land.”
Obaseki revealed that over 200,000 jobs will be created directly as a result of the investment saying, “At the end of this programme, when our investors may have cultivated over 100,000 hectares, we would be providing over 200,000 jobs at a minimum. It will make the state more competitive in the oil palm production business.”
“Our focus is to ensure that Nigeria becomes self-sufficient in no distant time in oil production,” he said.
He continued saying, “We have been deliberate to ensure that we go through all the processes required, according to international best practices, to make sure that every oil palm cultivated here in Edo is acceptable internationally.
“As a government, we will continue to create the enabling environment for your businesses to yield good returns and will do our best to provide infrastructure like access roads. We want to inform you that the main entry leading to your farm, the Benin-Abraka Road, has been awarded and construction will commence immediately.
Speaking during the signing, Protem Chairman, ESOPP Investors Group, Rasheed Sarumi hailed the governor for his vision and commitment in making the state a top choice in investment.
He said: “We thank the governor for his vision in making sure that Edo State remains the nucleus of oil palm production in Nigeria, not only in production but processing. This will create room for other allied industries to leverage and deliver the dividends to Edo people in terms of empowerment, jobs and get the host communities to participate in modern agriculture, which investors will bring to enhance their livelihoods.”
Investors in the project include Agroallied Resources Limited, Agripalm Limited, Saturn Farms Limited; Saro Oil Palm; Fayus Nigeria Limited and Farm Forte Agro Allied Limited.