By; MOHAMMAD IBRAHIM, Kaduna.
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai has announced the establishment of the biggest West African multi billion naira FrenchRice/Potatoes processing plant in Manchok, Kaura council area in the southern part of the state.
The processing plant after completion will offer 30,000 direct jobs to the teaming unemployed youths in the state.
Addressing a news conference in Kaduna heralding the ground breakingof the plant scheduled for this week, state commissioner for Agriculture and Forestry, Dr. Manzo Maigari, said 5,000 hectres of land in each local government area wouldbe allocated to communites on the best ways of planting potatoes.
He explained that as one of the steps to empower farmers in the state, VICAMPRO, owner of the processing plant will buy the potatoes from the farmers for its massive production as 60% of the products would be exported.
Maigari added that governor el-Rufai’s economic diversification processing drive would extend to other crops to revive the current economic challenges facing the country and the state.
“Since the coming of this government, we came with a goal and determination in farming.What we did is by organizing farmers into cooperatives, commodity interest groups and the rest, but we look at things critically and we decided that everything we aregoing to do in agriculture, we have to have some value added which will be private sector driven.
“So, we are lucky to have VICAMPRO with an investment worth 120 million dollars coming into Kaduna state toprocess French rice and potatoes, but what are the gains for us, with this investment we are looking at 30,000 direct jobs, we are alsoworking closely with them to see how we can develop out growers network across all the local government areas that has suitable soil to grow potatoes. Another benefit is that it will help us to standardize our farm practice in the state” he stated.
On his part, the Executive Secretary, Kaduna State Investment Promotion Agency, KADIPA, Gambo Hamza, said the Kaduna investment summit held some months ago has started yielding results with the launch of Frenchrice/potatoes processing plant noting that Olam had launched biggest poultry/hatchery in Sub Sahara Africa in Kaduna.