The Edo State Government’s effort to achieve sustainable food production and create employment in agriculture has received a boost as Vietnam and China are set to invest millions of dollars in the sector.
Also coming to the state are Israeli farmers who will invest in livestock development and fruits production. Tunde Lakoju, the Edo State Commissioner of Agriculture disclosed this today (Monday, July 5) in Auchi, Edo and said that necessary arrangements for the arrival of the investors had been made.
Lakoju said that the Vietnamese and Chinese investors would cultivate 10, 000 acres and 15, 000 acres of land for rice and cassava, respectively, adding that processing factories for the products would also be sited in the state. He spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He added that the state had already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the investors and said that all the state had to invest in the whole arrangement was land.
He said that by the terms of the MoU, the state was expected to enjoy about 40per cent equity in the investments.
“The only sector where more people could be empowered is agriculture and government efforts alone will not drive the needed growth in the sector.
“It was in the light of this that we went in search of these people and they are ready now to begin rolling out the bulldozers and tractors”, he said. He noted that the Vietnamese had species of rice that “from the day you plant to the harvest period is 90 days and because of this, they can plant three times in a year on the same spot through irrigation.
“All of that technology is coming and I was in Vietnam to see what they are doing there. They will be coming with all kind of facilities to process the rice.
“The Chinese are coming in also. They want to go into 15, 000 hectares of cassava and will also have a factory here for processing”. The commissioner remarked that the projects would also provide employment for farmers and youths in the state. According to him, they will engage our farmers, help them to prepare farmlands and give them seeds to plant and later buy the produce from the farms directly from them for their factories.He added that products like ethanol, industrial starch, noodles would be derived from the rice and cassava production and said that such items would be further processed for export.