... Edo already leading the way with massive investment in cassava, oil palm value chain
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has reiterated the need to prioritize production for the domestic market to stabilize the nation’s food supply and the fluctuating exchange rate.
Obaseki said this while inspecting the Dufil Farm, Ethanol Factory and other investments in Ovia North East Local Government Area of the State, alongside the Chairman of Edo State Oil Palm Programme (ESOPP), Mr. Rasheed Saromi and other stakeholders and top government officials.
He said, “We are working with investors to encourage those farmers already farming cassava on how to expand production planting varieties for industrial use. Buyers are already waiting to buy the products. Byproducts of cassava are not wasted, as they are used as feedstock for other industries.
“We don’t have the foreign exchange that we used to have; all the food we used to import we don’t have the resources to do so anymore. Even if we do, the price will be too high for us and the only way out is producing for the domestic market. This is the only way to stabilize the food supply and exchange rate for this Country.
“Dufil Prima Food Limited got land from Edo State Government to farm oil palm. When they started their oil palm business in 2019, they saw the need to diversify into cassava because of the availability of the product. As you can see today, they have invested in excess of N25 billion naira in just the cassava division.
“We are here to see how far they have gone, what they have done, the challenges they have and how collectively as State Government and ESOPP investors, we can work to reduce the risk and encourage more investments.”
According to him, “We are benefiting from various investments in the State like this factory of Dufil built four years ago and producing quality cassava flour and other byproducts for the poultry Industry. The State is benefiting from the food sufficiency standpoint from this investment.
“We have received substantial investment from various investors as investment has come into the State and a lot has come into the economy of Edo State, showing that a lot of economic activities are going on.
“From the farm and ethanol factory, they created over 1,500 direct jobs for the people. They are helping us reduce the challenge of unemployment, develop the State, expand it, and bring in people into the area with better opportunities. Edo State is one State where you can come to invest and make a lot of returns and grow your business.”
Obaseki added, “Dufil has shown us that what we are producing as cassava is not up to the demand. The variety of cassava used for industrial production is different from the one we eat.”
On his part, the CEO, Agro-Allied Resources and Processing Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Dufil Prima Food Limited, Mudhukar Khetan, thanked the governor for the opportunity given to his company to invest in the State, noting that the government has provided a stable, secured and peaceful environment to operate.
He said, “We have around 17 communities in our domain and maintain good relationships with them all. We have employed 40 percent of community people on our farm; direct employment is around 1,500 people, out of which about 500 people are working from the community. We also give educational scholarships to the people.”
Also, the Chairman of the ESOPP Programme, Mr. Rasheed Saromi noted that "Edo State as a business destination has been made conducive for investors as we have confidence in the administration of Godwin Obaseki. That's why you see huge investors in the State.”